Tech Communication & Information Guidance for Onboard Cyber Safety

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According to an article published in Safety4Sea, Inmarsat has launched a new guide on information and communication technology (ICT), which is a crucial part of today’s shipping industry affecting the safety, efficiency and environmental sectors of a ship’s performance.

Mitigating Cyber Problems

  • The newly-launched Inmarsat Guide includes guidance on maximising up time and mitigating cyber vulnerabilities of onboard networks and automated systems.
  • The comprehensive guide covers the design, deployment and ongoing operational management of shipboard ICT systems.

The Digitized Environment at Sea

Onboard crew today has to deal with a digitized environment, similar to the onshore environment, as they operate on computers, laptops, scanners and printers.

Therefore, it is crucial that the ICT is clear and easy-to-use, keeping in mind that the users will be working out at sea and will be far away from an ICT support system. As a result, when creating an ICT it is important to think that with the ship usually at sea, physical access to the ship’s system will be difficult, while digital access will depend on connectivity.

How will it help seafarers?

  • In addition, Inmarsat’s guide outlines how to design a software environment that prioritises uptime but is also easy to maintain long-term in terms of management and planning for upgrades.
  • The guide also refers to remote access to onboard systems being the most important tool for managing ICT assets on a fleet operating globally, as cyber security is a hot topic these days, given that more and more vessels are impacted.
  • For cyber-security reasons, extra care should be taken when granting remote access rights to external application vendors.
  • Focusing on cyber security, the Guide highlights the importance of crew education and drills, and approaches to IT system lockdown/hardening.

ICT Says

With the ship usually at sea, physical access to the ship’s system is difficult, while digital access depends on connectivity. The ship’s crew and other personnel are generally transient, they rotate and are replaced by another team every 4 to 6 months. In addition, ships do not have dedicated ICT support staff.

So what are the measures and procedures one can design and implement with limited resources to ensure seamless working of a vessel, problem management, cyber security measures and drills, compliance management, backups, creating a virtual ship infrastructure and meeting the ever increasing demands of digitalisation at sea.

The best practice guide, authored by Richard Lim, Sector Development at Inmarsat Maritime, provides you with key insights and methods to overcome these challenges.

Check the ICT Website to get the full guideline.

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Source: Safety4Sea

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