Digitization is transforming rail and transit from its historic dependence on manual mechanics and human operators to a modern industry that’s now partially automated and increasingly interconnected. While successive waves of technology create immense benefits and new opportunities for owners and operators to transform their services, the speed of change and sheer complexity of rail and transit makes it one of the most challenging critical infrastructures to secure.
Specifically, the rapid convergence of operational technology (OT), information technology (IT) and the "Internet of Things" (IoT) across its highly dispersed infrastructure is creating potential new vulnerabilities which expose rail and transit networks to new risks, ranging from cyber-attacks to circumstantial accident risk.
Technology convergence at speed and scale
Changing business models, cost pressures, aging assets and ever-increasing regulation are driving an irreversible convergence of core technologies within the modern rail infrastructure, enabling greater efficiencies, repeatability, scalability of operations at the front end, as well as smarter back office functions, cloud adoption and enhanced customer services.
Convergence also allows operators to harness drones and other autonomous or unmanned vehicles, biometric and other sensors, artificial intelligence (AI), robotic process automation (RPA), advanced video analytics and other innovations to optimize operations across their physical networks, assets and infrastructure.
Adopt a holistic approach for defense
To be effective in an increasingly interconnected and automated world, rail and transit security must be managed as an end-to-end holistic process and offer multi-layered defence, spanning conventional IT plus the growing OT and IoT/IIoT security risk domains, while recognizing the distinct characteristics of each.
Here are seven steps to strengthen security:
It’s vital to maintain a clear focus on the business context and understand that more than ever, security isn’t simply a technology problem, it’s a commercial imperative. But with the right approach, you can stay constantly prepared to keep your rail and transit networks moving and your business running smoothly.