At sea, danger increasingly presents itself as cyber security threats and attacks on connectivity. Risky behaviors and points of access are endless, from emails, social media and personal devices to password protection, trust and access issues. One security strategy that can help prevent cyber threats is risk reduction.

Risk reduction focuses on participating in activities but taking actions to mitigate potential losses. In this scenario, the ship sails, and all operations take place, but precautions improve odds for success.

Whether a ship is at sea, in port or dry-docked, risk reduction is the overriding element vital to effective cybersecurity, but it’s neither simple nor easy.

Addressing Risk Reduction

Protecting maritime communications and other ship assets from cyber threats is both a complex and the routine part of on-board existence. In short, risk reduction’s two functions remain technical and procedural. Only by fully integrating the two can you ensure that your ship has the most robust cyber security defense possible.

Incorporating Technical Cyber Security Measures

While technical cybersecurity measures can be initially more expensive than procedural ones, they’re often also easier to implement. Technical measures focus on securing equipment and data systems by strengthening the networks themselves, often incorporating access controls and checkpoints. The most effective controls:

Integrating Procedural Cyber Security Measures

Of course, all technical measures depend on the human factor, which is where procedural cyber security measures play a vital role in protecting the ship’s data assets and systems. Procedural controls determine not only how the people use a ship’s system, but also how they think about that access. That’s why the first recommendation is listed first:

Developing a Maritime Cyber Security Strategy

Because ships have so many different types of systems and system users – and therefore nearly exponential numbers of cyber threats – the challenge to reducing risk immediately becomes how to even begin. A three-step strategy can help:

  1. Prioritize your cybersecurity needs. Address your ship’s most critical functions, and target those that are most essential, most vulnerable or most beneficial to your mission.

  2. Delegate specific cybersecurity responsibilities to appointed dedicated technology and operational security officers who will be part of your cybersecurity management team.

  3. Cultivate a culture of active awareness and personal cyber accountability.

Partnering With BlueTide Communications for Cyber Security VSAT Services

Effective cyber security takes more than one decision-maker or one solo security officer. Risk reduction demands attention and care on the part of every person who comes in contact with any system associated with your ship. To increase the security for your onboard network, call BlueTide Communications at 337-205-6710, or contact us through our website.


Information used in this blog conforms to the recommendations offered in The Guidelines on Cyber Security Onboard Ships published by the Baltic and International Maritime Council (BIMCO), Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), International Association of Dry Cargo Shipowners (INTERCARGO) and International Association of Independent Tanker Owners (INTERTANKO).