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As part of the critical infrastructure sector, chemical companies are highly vulnerable to cyberattacks, given their role in supplying essential substances across numerous industries. Results from data breaches could entail spills of materials, leaks of secret recipes, and serious infrastructural damage.  

Understanding these risks, chemical companies are introducing robust layers of protection for systems within their corporate networks. However, the extended nature of supply chain collaboration and the increasing sophistication of cyberattacks continue to present new obstacles in ensuring that critical data is safe no matter where it resides. 

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As part of the critical infrastructure sector, chemical companies are highly vulnerable to cyberattacks, given their role in supplying essential substances across numerous industries. Results from data breaches could entail spills of materials, leaks of secret recipes, and serious infrastructural damage.  

Understanding these risks, chemical companies are introducing robust layers of protection for systems within their corporate networks. However, the extended nature of supply chain collaboration and the increasing sophistication of cyberattacks continue to present new obstacles in ensuring that critical data is safe no matter where it resides. 

Challenges

Hazardous Materials and Controlled Substances

Chemical companies must comply with EH&S regulations and manage controlled substances, which includes reporting information about hazardous materials, chemical weapons, emission details and employee health to government agencies. Leakage of such information can severely harm public safety, ruining an organization’s credibility and trust.

Supply Chain IT Loopholes

There are many external vendors and supply chain partners in chemical operations, causing malicious actors to target third-party networks in critical infrastructure. Actors can exploit the access that subcontractors may have to the primary organization and download critical data. This exploitation of trust in third party collaborators can impact organizations that are otherwise highly secure.  

Complex IP Protection

Companies must protect both company-owned and customer-specific IP across a complex web of global parties. This involves securing sensitive formulas, methods and designs within internal teams and external business partners, across JVs and suppliers. Such exchanges are often governed by stringent non-disclosure agreements, where failure would lead to contractual breaches and heavy financial losses.

Insider Risk

Privileged users, such as employees and contractors with access to proprietary formulas, production techniques, and client data, are essential in daily operations but can inadvertently become a high-risk vector. Often, the real threat lies not in the malicious misuse of data, but in these privileged users’ potential for human error and their lack of security training or awareness.

The Formula to Securing Chemical Company Data

To overcome the challenges surrounding regulatory compliance, third party risk and insider threats, chemical companies need to apply automation as well as enforce security controls to prevent unauthorized access. A comprehensive and proactive approach to data security should contain 

Distributed Policy Engine

A distributed policy engine can enforce centrally managed policies anywhere and everywhere. Need-to-know policies are consistently applied across all environments, regardless of user or location. This enables companies to manage complex access control and IP protection requirements across the organization, partners, and the extended enterprise.  

Data-Centric Security Enforcement

Through policy enforcement, companies can implement ABAC (Attribute-Based Access Control) and data-centric security controls such as digital rights management (DRM). This approach secures sensitive data at rest, in use and in transit throughout its lifecycle, mitigating risks associated with third-party networks and persistently protecting IP when it is shared. 

Automation and Prevention

Chemical companies can use the policy engine to automate security controls, preventing data breaches before they happen. Given the highly dangerous nature of controlled substances data, companies cannot allow leaks to happen in the first place. Therefore, a preventive strategy is far more effective and efficient compared to a “detect and respond” approach.  

Real-time Logging and Visibility

It is crucial for chemical companies to log and monitor all data access activity in real time. Enhanced visibility in a chemical company helps identify anomalies and potential risks in supply chain activities. This approach is also key in managing insider risks, especially among privileged users who have access to highly sensitive or proprietary chemical data. 

Robust Data-Security Policies

Global chemical companies must have data security policies that include chemical data classification, retention, and data breach response, while remaining effective and relevant with regulations. 

Data-Centric Security

An approach that ensures chemical data is persistently guarded through its lifecycle, enabling chemical companies to shield sensitive data from threats such as cyberattacks and breaches. 

Continuous Monitoring & Response

Response is crucial to detect risks early and allows chemical companies to have real-time visibility into their data access activity to identify and respond to potential threats.  

Compliance Auditing

Regular auditing allows chemical companies to identify and address vulnerabilities in their security controls. Audits should cover security policies, chemical data access controls, data handling procedures, and employee training. 

Automation & Prevention

Automating systems allow agencies to quickly and effectively manage data security, compliance procedures, and internal controls to enhance business agility. Automation helps with preventative controls and cuts out manual methods by using fine grained access control methods and zero trust architecture leading to less human error and reduces restorative cost. 

NextLabs Solution

Robust Data-Security Policies

CloudAz, Nextlabs’ policy management platform, allows companies to create and implement data security policies. These policies can apply regulatory controls applicable to the user, data, and environment in real-time. 

Data-Centric Security

NextLabs solutions provide data-centric security controls that protect sensitive data at all times, regardless of its location. These solutions can encrypt data at rest and in transit while allowing companies to define and enforce data access policies based on user roles, locations, and devices.

Continuous Monitoring & Response

Nextlabs’ policy management platform, CloudAz, monitors using real-time visibility allowing data access and usage to detect security incidents. CloudAz provides alerts based on security gaps and policies, enabling rapid response to security incidents.  

Compliance Auditing

CloudAz provides centralized auditing that enables companies to prove compliance ensuring the integrity of data security policies. Compliance reports can include data handling, data access, and policy enforcement while highlighting potential security gaps. 

Automation & Prevention

NextLabs’ platforms automate the enforcement of data access policies using preventative controls measures/strategies such as Dynamic authorization and Attribute Based Access Control. The platform improves data security by showing changes immediately and reducing the cost of policy management.  

NextLabs Solution

CloudAz Centralized Policy Platform

NextLabs’ unified policy management platform, CloudAz, enables companies to author and centrally manage security policies that are enforced dynamically in real-time. It offers simplified policy authoring with business-friendly policy language, preserving policy integrity with approval workflows and version control. This streamlines the management of complex data protection requirements for chemical companies, protecting sensitive data anywhere and everywhere.  

CloudAz Dynamic Authorization Policy Engine

When a subject requests access to sensitive information on controlled substances, CloudAz’s Dynamic Authorization policy engine evaluates security policies and real-time attributes to make the authorization decision. This enables consistent policy enforcement across multiple applications, automatically preventing unauthorized disclosure of sensitive information, which is key to maintaining compliance and trust with employees, regulators, investors, and the public. 

SkyDRM Digital Rights Management

SkyDRM is an enforcer and DRM solution that enables secure collaboration among multiple vendors and supply chain partners. Users can apply digital rights like View, Edit, Print, and more, to files shared with external personnel. This ensures that sensitive data remains protected in cases where a network is comprised. Even when files are downloaded by subcontractors, SkyDRM enforces controls over what actions they can perform with the data. 

DAE Dynamic Data Masking

DAE (Data Access Enforcer) helps companies manage IP protection within the complex network of global collaborations, obfuscating the value of sensitive data in unauthorized fields. Centrally managed policies define masking patterns and rules to determine who, what, when, where, and why to mask field(s) in real-time. This secures sensitive information such as chemical formulas and methods shared among internal teams and external business partners. 

CloudAz Report Server

CloudAz’s centralized monitoring provides real-time visibility into data activity and events, enabling organizations to vigilantly monitor data access and usage, especially regarding potential security incidents involving privileged users. CloudAz helps identify anomalies and provide alerts when it comes to risky behavior. It addresses not only malicious data misuse, but also mitigates risks associated with human error and lack of awareness among insiders.  

NextLabs Resources