In brief

In brief

  • Accenture conducted security research to understand how organizations, including the automotive industry, can achieve cyber resilience.
  • Steps needed to transform traditional operations to deal with cyber threats and embed security into organizations within two to three years.
  • The changing scope of the Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) role—from tech-savvy specialist to business-outcome focused advisor. 

Scaling up security

As the world becomes more connected, no industry is safe from the threat of cyberattacks—including automotive companies. This is compounded by a complex business model that involves dealing with legacy systems, a vast supplier delivery network and new data demands. CISOs in the automotive industry are not only faced with today’s challenges around protecting their critical IT and manufacturing systems, they must also manage tomorrow’s threats. This changes the scope of the CISO role—from tech-savvy specialist to business-outcome focused advisor. To make this transition, CISOs must not only collaborate with the digital officer and digital marketing teams, but also be equipped with the insight and foresight needed to counteract cyber threats and accelerate competitive edge.

Business-first security

CISOs need to evolve their role to become business enablers—guardians of cybersecurity strategies that protect critical assets and operations, even as organizations transform to become more competitive and drive growth. Automotive manufacturers must handle upcoming threats posed by connected environments, broader ecosystems and the expanded use of data in all aspects of the business. In short, security teams must be front and center of any strategic plans.

Actions automotive manufacturers can take to reshape traditional operations and deal with the next wave of cyber threats include:

Secure operational technology environments

Security must be universally applied across the enterprise—decision making not rooted in sustainable security planning can have a major impact on the business, reputation and market share.

Safeguard the supply chain

Extend security to the ecosystem of partners and suppliers who are integral to their business operations—particularly those that that have access to critical systems and data.

Shift from product-oriented to customer-centric

Think differently. Instead of building products, they must address the customer experience. Moving to the cloud and embracing digitization has led to greater volumes of data to manage and exploit.

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Speed to value

There is little doubt that the automotive industry is under threat—from cyberattacks and the dramatic shifts that are taking place at the heart of how it functions and competes. CISOs should adapt their role so that they can not only drive forward with confidence, but also accelerate the value their businesses can offer to their customers. Here’s how:

Address security fundamentals

Harden and protect core assets across the entire value chain—including both IT and OT environments—and continue to pressure-test your resilience to manage today’s threats.

Extend security to the wider ecosystem

Identify weak links and areas of greatest risk among third-party suppliers, manufacturers, and dealers and apply appropriate security controls and governance.

Create a safety-by-design culture

Rethink your approach to security and the role of the CISO, driven by a next-generation CISO who is tech-savvy and business adept.

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Axel Schmidt

Senior Managing Director – Global Industry Sector Lead Automotive

Uwe Kissmann

Managing Director – Cyber Security Strategy & Risk Consulting Services, Europe


Eliel Mulumba

Accenture Security


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