Industrial Cybersecurity

How Manufacturers Can Understand Cybersecurity

Zane Blomgren

You Know What Your Factory Does

Our industrial customers—many of them producers and manufacturers—tend to deal with workflows that are highly concrete and tangible. Whether they are manufacturing tires, brewing beer, building automobiles, blending salad dressings, processing chemicals, formulating pharmaceuticals, refining crude oil or cleaning wastewater, the inputs of raw materials and the outputs of finished goods are fairly visible. Theoretically, you could hold them in your hands—although, clearly, you’d rather hold some in your hands more than others.

Contrast That with the Cybersecurity Business

We deal in software and data and workflows that are highly abstract. My Tripwire colleagues and I tend to have a broader view since we are familiar with both types of operations. Many of us came from manufacturing or utility operations and we are each in and out of manufacturing and production facilities dozens of times a year in the performance of our jobs.


Our customers and prospects, in contrast, tend to be laser-focused on their physical production, as they should be. Sometimes though, when we discuss the abstract nature of cybersecurity, it’s challenging for us to get the point across. It can be a very different way of looking at the world.


A few months back, the Tripwire team was discussing this phenomenon, and we all noted that we were very familiar with it. Then the lights went on: We know factories. We know Tripwire cybersecurity products. We know how they work in said factories. Why not present the cybersecurity process to prospects in terms of production? It really is a natural analogy.


The “Tripwire Factory” Concept was Born

Simply put: cybersecurity, like factory production, starts with raw materials. In our case, raw data. The “Tripwire Factory” then transforms these raw materials, in different steps and stages and at different locations—production cells, if you will—into the finished product. That product is actionable information and insights.


This data manufacturing line helps keep the customer’s manufacturing line flowing smoothly, protecting it from malware, hacks, miskeys, device failures and more, thereby avoiding expensive downtime.


So, just like a tire manufacturer might take fabric, rubber, metal, chemicals and other raw materials in the back door and present high-performance tires out the front, Tripwire collects the raw data on various devices and logs in different areas of the factory to produce a clear view of activity and present the best course of action.


Our series of unit operations and tools includes “asset discovery,” “configuration change detection,” “vulnerability detection,” “log management” and more—all analogous to the more dramatic operations of cutting, grinding, assembling, mixing, welding and extruding taking place on the plant floor. 


Granted, our production line is not as interesting to watch as that of a lot of our customers. The local scout troop or Junior Achievement club won’t be requesting a field trip to watch our data being analyzed in the way they would excitedly come to watch something cool being made in your factory.


But the production of Tripwire Factory can save the production of Your Factory from failing, which is pretty interesting if you ask me.


I hope the concept of Tripwire Factory helped put its impact on your production operation in perspective. When we sit down with our customers, we adapt it to their specific operation, their specific inputs, their specific transforming machinery, and their specific outputs. We’re glad to do the same for you.