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Evolution of Industrial Endpoint Cybersecurity

The quest for digital transformation is bringing both enormous opportunities and challenges for industrial organizations. As more processes embrace connectivity through initiatives like Industry 4.0, they are also being exposed to growing cybersecurity threats.

This is prompting executives and industrial stakeholders across manufacturing, energy, mining, utilities, and other business sectors to re-evaluate how they secure critical infrastructure operations. 

According to the latest worldwide study by Juniper Research, the market for industrial endpoint cybersecurity solutions is poised for massive growth in the coming years.

Endpoint Cybersecurity Market Development

Endpoint security refers to the processes used to monitor, manage and secure the various connected devices like PLCs, HMIs, engineering workstations, and more found within industrial facilities.

Juniper analysts forecast that 210 million industrial endpoints will be utilizing endpoint cybersecurity services by 2028. This represents substantial growth of over 100 percent compared to current levels.

Several key factors are catalyzing increased investment in securing industrial endpoints. Legacy OT devices and operating systems that can't support modern IT security tools remain highly prevalent in industrial environments.

At the same time, industrial organizations often lack sufficient in-house cybersecurity personnel and skills. The research identified endpoint monitoring as a major gap, with many industrial players struggling to gain visibility into device-level communications that could reveal threats. 

The convergence between IT and OT is also exponentially expanding the threat surface. As industrial networks adopt more IP-enabled communications and connectivity with outside systems, they become more vulnerable to external attacks.

Recent years have seen a surge in ransomware and other cyber incidents targeting critical infrastructure like manufacturing plants, power grids, and more.

In response, cybersecurity vendors are rapidly tailoring new solutions for industrial endpoints. Juniper examines how endpoint protection platforms (EPP), endpoint detection and response (EDR), managed detection and response (MDR) and extended detection and response (XDR) tools are evolving.

According to the Juniper assessment, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning will be critical to automating threat monitoring and response across vast industrial device fleets. 

Total spending on industrial endpoint security is forecast to grow over 100 percent as well, reaching $7.8 billion annually by 2028. This demonstrates how industrial cyber protection has become a top priority.

"As more processes become connectivity enabled, the threat environment within industrial settings is exponentially increasing. Cybersecurity vendors must partner with key industrial IoT vendors to better secure this problematic area," said Nick Maynard, vice president at Juniper Research.

Outlook for Industrial Endpoint Security Growth

However, Juniper cautions that even by 2028 only 21 percent of industrial endpoints will be secured. To truly harden critical infrastructure against rising threats, industrial organizations will need to accelerate the adoption of cybersecurity measures.

That said, I believe the imperative for industrial operators to secure endpoint vulnerabilities is higher than ever. As technologies transform operations, proactive investment in endpoint visibility, monitoring, or response capabilities will be essential to avoid cyber incidents. 

By partnering with leading cybersecurity vendors to secure endpoints across networks, industrial companies can embrace connectivity's benefits while minimizing known and emerging risks.

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