Email Security for the Manufacturing Industry

Digitalization with security and compliance
Fundamentals for Smart Factories & Industry 4.0

Manufacturing is one of the most vulnerable industries when it comes to cyberattacks. All types of data find a market when intercepted- from Intellectual property, plans, processes, concepts, test series, prototypes, to recipes. However, data theft is not the only cyber threat for the manufacturing industry. Successful sabotage through digital channels can have a massive impact on production. For this reason, compliance is required in exchanges with other players in the sector. Moreover, industry 4.0 cannot exist without security.

With Zertificon, you choose the future-proof and low-effort solution for secure email communication in the manufacturing industry. You lay the foundation for digital transformation with security and connectivity to Industry 4.0.

Encryption & Signing for Security and Trust in Office and Machine Communication

Attacks on your communication are not immediately noticeable, and therefore they are more insidious than attacks on your network. When data is transmitted over the internet, the security system that detects attacks on your network doesn’t kick in. If you don’t establish a VPN connection with all your communication partners, you have to introduce encryption and digital signatures for business emails as effective protection. In manufacturing, this means protecting both human-to-human and machine-to-machine communications.

Email content encryption prevents attacks of any kind, while signed emails provide trust. A validated signature shows that the email originates from the specified sender and that the email contents have not been altered in transit. Of course, the recipient must carefully further check who the sender is because attackers can also obtain encryption certificates on similarly named email addresses for phishing attacks.

email signature validation user info

Machines have an advantage over employees because they can be programmed to accept only certain emails. Zertificon’s solutions are machines that automate processes for your employees and machines, just like automated production systems. Once configured, the system runs invisibly in the background and executes all processes according to predefined rules. In parallel all work steps are recorded in detail so that encryption and signatures can still be proven later.

Special threats in the manufacturing industry

It is easy to downplay the importance of encrypted and signed emails when overlooking the gravity of cybersecurity threats. However, when you know that unencrypted emails are postcards for all outsiders to read, the default assumption is: attackers are intercepting, manipulating, and collecting vital business information at all times. Even worst, attackers can actively eavesdrop between two parties by making them believe that they are directly communicating with each other. They can even secretly relay and alter communications between the targeted parties. Technology decreased the required efforts for offenders to carry out attacks. And without email security measures, offenders can exploit your data stealthily as long as needed without your knowledge. They lay low and hold-up information until they decide the time to strike is right- which suggests that the communications of all industrial companies are intercepted, collected, and analyzed in a structured manner.

Tomorrow’s attack is being prepared today

With that in mind, presuming that your organization is not subjected to cyber threats while using unencrypted and unsigned emails is a huge and possibly very costly gamble. Just because you are unaware of a cyberattack does not mean that you are safe from the consequences that could be planned and carried out at a later point in time. The assessment of which content is valuable, when, for whom, and in which context lies with those who exploit the data. A phishing attack or act of sabotage, for example, can succeed much more convincingly than you can even imagine today using intimate knowledge of an organization and all of the content of its communications. If the attacker can reference past confidential projects and imitate the tone of voice and choose the right way of addressing an individual like the person they are pretending to be, no one will doubt that they are “one of us.”

secure email gateway for the manufacturing industry
Attackers Threats
Skript Kiddies skill and power test / disclosure of confidential data
Hacktivists disclosure of confidential data / sabotage
Competitors & Intelligence tapping IP and process know-how, price structures and conditions / possible sabotage / exploitation of weaknesses or economic situation (e.g. merger acquisition) / poaching of employees in the war for talent
Organized cybercrime blackmail, sale of intercepted data / social engineering of employees for individual phishing attacks

Compliance as a supplier: Pass security audits successfully

IT compliance for manufacturing suppliers through email encryption

Individual clients or industry standards, such as TiSAX in the automotive industry or EDI@Energy for the energy industry, demand IT compliance that also includes securing business communications. Certificate-based encrypted email exchange is now required by default. The easily available but insecure Transport Layer Security (TLS), which only encrypts the transmission path but not the content, is insufficient.

Manufacturing companies, as suppliers, are often under tremendous time pressure during inquiries with us: when it comes to the manufacturer- supplier relations, manufacturers who are already compliant with encryption requirements are the safer bet. So don´t wait to miss out on orders to introduce email encryption.

Fast and easy encryption and signature implementation

The misconception that email security requires enormous resources is a common theme in all security discussions. Z1 SecureMail Gateway ends that discussion with fast integration during operation, high automation and simple, administration. Encryption does not have to be burdening and complex. With Zertificon, it´s straightforward and requires little effort. Lay the foundation for your secure digital transformation and connectivity to Industry 4.0 with email encryption and digital signature.

Email encryption for the manufacturing industry with Z1 SecureMail Gateway is a future-proof investment that should be pursued sooner rather than later. Find out more about Z1 SecureMail Gateway or inquire right away. We are also happy to help you find the right partner for the installation or even the entire operation of the gateway as a service.

Secure email with any contact, human, or system

Z1 SecureMail Gateway serves office IT and production IT for secure messaging with automated certificate and key management.

communication scenarios in the manufacturing industry

communication scenarios in the manufacturing industry

Only Zertificon offers certificate management automation at the highest level

In contrast to standard gateway solutions on the market, Zertificon’s Z1 SecureMail Gateway is characterized by a particularly high level of automation. Especially when dealing with S/MIME email certificates – as part of public key infrastructures (PKIs) of trust centers or own company PKIs – the automation leads to great efficiency gains and competitive advantages. Companies that have already gained experience with PKIs know that certificate management of their own and third-party certificates is the real challenge in email encryption. When experts are lacking, and processes need to be handled quickly, automation is the best solution.

From the procurement of email certificates for your employees and system addresses at renowned trust certification authorities to the search and validation of third-party certificates, everything happens automatically with the Z1 SecureMail Gateway. Zertificon also handles the commercial processing of the certificates. You can certainly also benefit from the relationships we have with trust centers, even when purchasing smaller quantities.

If you use your own PKI, it can be easily integrated. Mixed forms between your own PKI and connections to several trust centers are also supported out-of-the-box. Existing certificates can also be imported and automatically replaced later.

Confidential emails in international business

Zertificon’s solutions use the S/MIME and OpenPGP international standards for encryption and signature. This enables confidential communication even in global business relationships. In restrictive states such as some Asian countries, certificate-based encryption is not always permitted. Foreign business partners in this context do not have encryption certificates and cannot obtain them. Zertificon’s Z1 SecureMail Gateway switches to password-based encryption in such cases. You can also use this when communicating with smaller service providers without an encryption solution or private individuals such as job applicants or even your own employees.

Encryption secures the connection in Smart Factories / Industry 4.0

For some years now, various working groups have been dealing with IT security for Industry 4.0. However, as things stand, Industry 4.0 should be seen more as a process or vision rather than something that has already been widely implemented in Germany. But preparations are underway, and the energy sector is repeatedly cited as a reference.

Best practice for Industry 4.0: EDI@Energy

Energy companies are among critical infrastructures (KRITIS) according to the German IT Security Act, which was passed in an updated form in spring 2021. The mandatory security requirements in the EDI@Energy regulation are very high. Encryption may only be implemented with special key material – RSASSA-PSS signed certificates. Dedicated workflows are defined for various error cases.

Zertificon is already successfully established as a solution provider for EDI@Energy market communication.Here, the implementation with Zertificon leads to very low efforts because automation makes the difference. Even the gradual introduction of the regulation – first only signing, then also encrypting, as well as the handling of different algorithms on fixed deadlines – was conducted automatically. Zertificon has proven that particular industry specifications can be implemented quickly, with all standard requirements out-of-the-box.

EDI@energy compliant communication and secure email with Z1 SecureMail Gateway

Z1 SecureMail Gateway: EDI@Energy communication and secure email

The EDI@Energy regulation and all discussion papers published so far confirm this: in the manufacturing industry, for communication tasks, email is the lowest common denominator that all companies can meet out-of-the-box without additional investment- but the email it has to be secure. Z1 SecureMail Gateway solves this task with very little effort in procurement and operation, both for classic office communication and for machine-to-machine communication. With Z1 SecureMail Gateway, you become ready for Industry 4.0.