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Industrial Machinery

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In an analysis conducted by Deloitte, cyber threats are among the most prevalent with the rise of digital technologies in the manufacturing industry.  Manufacturers of industrial machinery need to share proprietary information with supply chain partners while ensuring its privacy.  Manufacturers may also be subjected to export regulations (such as ITAR, EAR etc.) or regulations such as CMMC, so data must be effectively segregated to meet both compliance and business requirements. The difficulty in balancing the need to share with complying with regulations can prevent organizations from exploiting the global market for resources and employees. 

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Safeguarding Intellectual Property

Industrial Machinery involves intricate designs, proprietary technology, and innovative manufacturing processes, all of which are valuable intellectual assets. High capital investment is required to manufacture, service, maintain, and optimize the product, underscoring protection of intellectual property (IP) throughout its lifecycle for maintaining competitiveness and safeguarding investments. Additionally, companies must secure IP when sharing it with stakeholders, particularly technical data regulated by export control laws like ITAR, EAR, and German BAFA. Implementing fine-grained access controls is essential to track and regulate access to sensitive information, ensuring it is only accessed by authorized users. 

Supply Chain Vulnerabilities

Industrial Machinery relies heavily on global supply chains, sourcing components from diverse suppliers worldwide. However, in this multi-tiered landscape, suppliers vary in technological sophistication. Small partners often lack the necessary infrastructure to defend against cyber threats, risking the compromise of critical components. Enforcing uniform access standards across the supply chain proves challenging, increasing the risk of breaches. Collaboration among stakeholders also raises concerns, as it can lead to data breaches and intellectual property theft when sensitive information is shared with competitors. 

Strengthen Data Governance

Industrial machinery companies operate across borders and work with many large business-to-business customers that involve sectors like the government and military, necessitating the navigation of diverse data protection regulations. As customer data comprises of sensitive business information, trade secrets, and financial data, these data become a prime target for cybercrimes. Furthermore, companies need to adhere to Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) requirements, as well as contract obligations with customers such as non-disclosure agreements and Privacy Impact Assessments (PIA), making it imperative to strengthen data governance to prevent customer data from being compromised.

Insider Risk

The high level of specialization and expertise required in this sector means that privileged individuals with malicious intent could exploit their knowledge to cause substantial harm to a company’s competitiveness or might unintentionally compromise the safety and functionality of industrial machinery due to human error. Furthermore, outsourcing and offshoring heighten insider risks with an expanded pool of users who are given access to sensitive data. The possibility of data leaks and data breaches increases due to diverse backgrounds and potential differences in security standards. To prevent insider espionage or inadvertent disclosure of sensitive information, organizations need to establish an effective monitoring and auditing mechanism. 

A Secure Approach for Sharing Proprietary Information

To safeguard intellectual property and strengthen data governance while addressing supply chain vulnerabilities and insider threats, industrial machinery manufactures need to implement a data-centric security approach that includes the following elements:  

Distributed Policy Engine

A distributed policy engine allows for the implementation of consistent security controls and compliance measures across all endpoints, ensuring that critical data and operations remain protected regardless of location. Companies operating across borders or working with global multi-tiered suppliers can adapt more effectively to local regulations and operational requirements while maintaining a unified approach to security and safeguarding valuable assets. 

Data-Centric Security Enforcement

Data-centric security controls such as Digital Rights Management (DRM) technology and dynamic data masking and segregation can strengthen data governance and prevent wrongful disclosures. By encrypting data using DRM technology, sensitive enterprise business-critical information and data can be created, viewed, modified, and distributed securely during collaboration, safeguarding intellectual property. Using attribute-based access control (ABAC) policies, access to critical data can be restricted through data masking and segregation, ensuring that data is not compromised. Furthermore, to protect data at rest in an application, Format-Preserving Encryption (FPE) can be implemented to obfuscate data, preventing unauthorized access by privileged users. 

Automation and Prevention

A policy engine evaluates policies dynamically based on real-time attributes, automating security controls. By continuously monitoring real-time events and data access patterns, the policy engine can proactively identify and prevent unauthorized activities or potential security breaches. This ensures compliance with industry standards and regulatory requirements while safeguarding sensitive information and operational integrity. 

Real-time Logging and Visibility

By consolidating audit logs and reporting mechanisms into a centralized system, companies can gain comprehensive insights to monitor any unauthorized sharing of data with sub-tier suppliers, addressing supply chain risks. This centralized approach streamlines auditing processes and simplifies compliance assessments while demonstrating adherence to regulatory requirements, enhancing overall data governance. 


Complex Regulatory Environment

Industrial Machinery manufacturers need to maintain compliance with multiple export control regulations. These regulations place stringent controls on the export of dual-use goods, software, and technology, requiring companies to track and control the access and distribution of sensitive data such as IP and technical data. 

Intersection of Export Compliance and Data Security

Export control regulations such as ITAR, EAR, German BAFA, and UK Export Control Act aim to control the transfer of physical technologies, but also play a crucial role in managing the export of sensitive information and data related to industrial machinery. sensitive data such as proprietary data, manufacturing processes, and intellectual property needs to be properly shared or accessed by authorized entities to maintain compliance, to reduce the risk of cyber threats, industrial espionage, and unauthorized access to critical data.

Supply Chain Security

Industrial Machinery is heavily reliant on global supply chains that often involve numerous vendors, contractors, and subcontractors. Information about those supply chains is a trade secret and must be protected against supply chain attacksData sharing across a complex supply chain also renders sensitive information vulnerable to breaches.  

Access Control Challenges

As components and sub-systems are often sourced from various suppliers across the globe, it is inherently challenging to establish and maintain stringent access controls. Different suppliers may have varying levels of security measures and contracts, making it difficult to enforce uniform access standards across the entire supply chain. In addition, companies may need to collaborate and exchange information with multiple stakeholders, increasing the risk of unauthorized access to sensitive data or intellectual property. 

Insider Threats

Industrial Machinery is a prime target for insider threats, where employees or contractors may be tempted to misuse or steal sensitive data. Individuals with authorized access can exploit their knowledge and privileges to compromise security or commit malicious actions. Threat detection can be complicated due to the resources available to malicious actors.  

Mitigating Insider Threats

Employees, contractors, or other trusted insiders with privileged access may intentionally or accidentally compromise data security by mishandling critical information, engaging in industrial espionage, or selling proprietary data to external entities. The high level of specialization and expertise required in this sector means that individuals with malicious intent could exploit their knowledge to cause substantial harm to a company’s competitiveness or compromise the safety and functionality of industrial machinery. 


Globalizing operations pose a significant challenge to manufactures in Industrial Machinery as it restricts where sensitive information can be accessed and stored, and who can access it. These restrictions can limit an organization’s access to the global market for resources and talent, impede partnerships and joint ventures, and hurt competitiveness. 

Data Privacy Regulations

It is crucial for industrial machinery companies to comply with stringent data privacy regulations, such as GDPR or CCPA. These regulations require transparent data handling practices, explicit user consent, and robust security measures to protect personal and sensitive data. The challenge lies in balancing the innovation and efficiency gains associated with leveraging data in the manufacturing sector with the imperative to respect and protect individual privacy, as mandated by evolving and often complex data protection regulations.

Approach to Overcome Challenges

To overcome the challenges surrounding regulations, supply chain security, insider threats, and globalization, industrial machinery manufactures need to apply access control policies to avoid improper sharing or disclosure of intellectual property, customer or project information, or other sensitive data.  

Robust Data-Security Policies

Robust data security policies that cover data classification, access controls, and data encryption are essential for the manufacturing industry to safeguard sensitive data, maintain operational efficiency, and comply with regulatory requirements.

Persistent Protection of Shared Sensitive Data and Intellectual

An approach that ensures data is persistently protected throughout its lifecycle, from creation to disposal enabling manufacturing companies to protect sensitive information, intellectual property, and critical processes against insider threats and cyberattacks.

Real-Time Monitoring

Manufacturers of industrial machinery must have real-time monitoring of their data and network activity, allowing for detection of security threats, operational issues, and compliance violations.

Compliance Auditing

Compliance audits should cover data security policies, data access controls, data handling procedures, and employee training. Conducting effective compliance audits helps manufacturers of industrial machinery identify and address areas of non-compliance and minimize data security risks.

Automate & Prevent

By automating the process of defining, updating, and enforcing data security policies, preventive controls can be in place and manufacturing companies can focus on their core business while maintaining a strong security posture.

NextLabs Solution

Centralized Policy Management

NextLabs’ unified policy management platform, CloudAz, enables companies to create and implement data security policies that are enforced dynamically at that time of access request. The policies can apply the regulatory controls applicable to the user, data, and environment in real-time.

Data-Centric Security Solution

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, control data access based on policies, and apply dynamic data masking to protect sensitive data. Companies can define and enforce granular data access policies based on user roles, locations, and devices.

Efficient Monitoring through Unified Policy Platform

CloudAz’s centralized monitoring provides real-time visibility into data activity and events. This allows organizations to monitor data access and data usage to detect potential security incidents. CloudAz can provide alerts based on security policies, enabling rapid response to security incidents.

Centralized Auditing and Reporting

CloudAz provides centralized auditing and reporting capabilities that enable companies to demonstrate compliance and ensure the integrity of their data security policies. Compliance reports can include data access, data handling, policy enforcement, and insights into potential security gaps.

Automate Policy Enforcement with Preventive Controls

With dynamic authorization and ABAC, NextLabs CloudAz automates the enforcement of data access policies and applies preventive controls, improving data security by reflecting changes in attribute values immediately and reducing the cost of policy management. This allows enterprises to reduce the operational expenses of R&D and COGS as well as decreases the time to market.

NextLabs Solution

CloudAz Unified Policy Platform

CloudAz centralizes administration of attribute-based security policy, incorporating Attribute-Based Access Control (ABAC), and enforces it in real-time to implement fine-grained controls as required by Zero Trust principles. Whenever an access request is made, the CloudAz policy engine, Policy Controller, evaluates the authorization policies using attribute values obtained from attribute sources as defined in policies. This ensures that access and authorization are always granted with up-to-date information, automating policy enforcement, logging, and auditing. 

SkyDRM Digital Rights Management

Industrial Machinery’s IP is often housed within PLM or CAD applications, emphasizing the importance of safeguarding data within these applications. SkyDRM facilitates global sharing of valuable intellectual property originating from PLM applications while ensuring real-time access and usage management. For IP in CAD files, SkyDRM protects the rights of the files, ensuring secure internal and extended enterprise sharing of critical information. This enhances the sharing of critical information with external partners to create a secure collaborative environment. 

Data Access Enforcer (DAE) Data-Level Security Controls

NextLabs’ DAE enforces “need-to-know” data access at runtime, ensuring that any data not authorized by the privileged user is masked, and the fields and records are dynamically segregated to be viewed only by authorized users with permitted access. For companies leveraging offshore entities or resources, it’s vital to encrypt data with FPE that is compatible with cross-domain policy. This allows them to watch for leaks. If leaks happen, it signals data compromise. This enhances data governance of critical data like customer and financial data and prevents inadvertent disclosures. 

Data Loss Prevention

Sensitive data such as financial data and customer lists are among an organization’s most valuable assets that are often stored in ERP applications. NextLabs’ Data Loss Prevention (DLP) for SAP ERP prevents data loss or leakage from critical SAP ERP applications by enabling the creation and real-time implementation of segregation of duties policies. This ensures that no single individual has control over all stages of a process or transaction, enhancing internal control and promoting transparency and accountability for compliance such as SOX. 

CloudAz Report Server

CloudAz can simplify audit processes with centralized logging and reporting of all data access activity and authorized decisions, ensuring compliance with regulations such as GDPR, ITAR, and SOX. With a centralized audit repository to monitor and analyze user activity and data across applications and services, organizations can promptly detect risky actions and prevent policy violations. Additionally, CloudAz offers self-mitigation capabilities by identifying patterns and anomalies in data activities, optimizing reporting processes, and reducing data loss. 

NextLabs Resources