Like many ship managers, AW Ship management were responsible for the operation of four vessels built before the days that cyber security was actively considered.
The operational and information technology systems have been working away for many years without too much consideration, until cyber-attacks targeting shipping operators combined with new IMO maritime cybersecurity guidelines put a spotlight on the importance of protecting assets from malicious actors. Add to that the requirement to improve crew welfare with faster internet access, which would expose the fleet to more cyber threats.
AWSM embarked on a mission to get the ships accredited to the IASME Maritime Cyber Baseline standard.
Unlike most other maritime IT vendors ITatSea do not sell their own premium ‘in house’ hardware and software solutions. Instead, ITatSea look at the wider IT market, select proven/trusted solutions and evaluate their suitability for the maritime industry.
ITatSea worked closely with the customer, firstly to map out the existing IT/OT systems and assess the risks. Then looked at ways to improve their digital security posture. It soon became apparent that a holistic approach was needed to achieve the accreditation. There wasn’t a ‘magic’ firewall that could be installed nor antivirus product that would result in a silver bullet fix.
Using a combination of cyber security practices, including multi-factor authentication, USB locking, centralised monitoring, rogue device detection and alerting. With simple low-tech air-gap switches recommended and deployed by ITatSea. Backed by some additional company procedural changes, AWSM were cyber accredited within a few months.
ITatSea complimented the cyber project with industry leading SD-WAN security firewalls to actively monitor, alert and block any malicious traffic.
High speed communications are now provided to the crew, with KVH VSAT and LTE/4G providing a backup circuit for business-critical applications such as Email, ECDIS and weather updates – should the high-speed system suffer an outage. Each of the crew members are allocated several Gigabytes of data per week to stay connected with loved ones via video calling and social media and even Netflix streaming. Previously even making a video call was impossible.
Gary McDonald – Technical Director of ITatSea comments. “These additions, especially the introduction of high speed internet access, have been very well received by the crew but has also enabled ITatSea to keep the IT systems onboard up to date with the latest security patches and resolve general day-to-day support requests in a more efficient manner.”
Based in Altrincham, Cheshire, UK. ITatSea have been providing ICT (Information Communication Technology) solutions designed for the Maritime, Offshore and Shipping business sectors since 2007.