Finishing the story: Navigating Compliance, Training, and Emerging Technologies in the Commercial Space Industry

Finishing the story: Navigating Compliance, Training, and Emerging Technologies in the Commercial Space Industry

This is part 3 of 3 blogs, written by Sam Stait, Senior Cyber Consultant.

In the previous post, “Strengthening the Link: Securing the Supply Chain and responding to incidents”, we looked at how securing the supply chain and responding effectively to incidents are both vital parts of equation used to effectively manage their cybersecurity risks in the commercial space security. Part 3 is the final part in the series, where we will be exploring the complexities of regulatory compliance, the value of training and awareness and the challenges presented by emerging technologies.

Complexities of Regulatory Compliance

Commercial space companies are subject to various regulatory requirements, including those imposed by national space agencies, industry standards, and government regulations. Compliance with these regulations can be complex and time-consuming, requiring significant resources and expertise. Failure to comply with regulatory requirements can result in legal and financial penalties, damage to the organisation’s reputation, and, in some cases, the suspension or revocation of the organisation’s operating license.

One of the main challenges of regulatory compliance is that the landscape is constantly evolving – this is particularly relevant in the commercial space industry. New regulations are introduced, existing regulations are updated alongside the rapidly evolving technologies, and enforcement policies are changed. Keeping up with these changes and ensuring ongoing compliance can be difficult, particularly for smaller companies with limited resources. However, it is worth noting that,  building something secure will likely mean you will be compliant with a number of regulatory standards, but building something compliant will not necessarily result in you being secure.

To address these challenges, commercial space companies need to develop a comprehensive understanding of the regulatory requirements that apply to their operations. This includes identifying all relevant regulations, understanding the specific requirements of each regulation, and developing processes and procedures to ensure ongoing compliance. Depending on the technology that is used, automatic compliance software or tools can be used to help manage these challenges and, in some cases, give a real-time view of the organisation’s compliance state against a number of standards and regulations. This information can be leveraged not only to drive day-to-day compliance activity but can be used as evidence to demonstrate compliance to regulatory bodies.

Companies also need to ensure that they have the necessary resources and expertise to achieve and maintain compliance. This may involve hiring additional staff, investing in training and education, or engaging with external consultants or service providers.

In addition to any automated compliance tools that may be in play, companies need to implement effective monitoring and reporting mechanisms to ensure that they can quickly identify and address any compliance issues that arise. This includes regular audits and reviews, as well as the development of incident response plans to manage any regulatory breaches that occur.

The Value of Training and Awareness

Laptop with a fishing rod talking about Cyber Security in the Space sector

Training and awareness are critical components of any cybersecurity program. It is important for all employees to understand the threats they face and how to identify and respond to them. This is particularly true for commercial space companies, where the consequences of a security breach can be significant.

Awareness campaigns can help ensure that employees remain vigilant and aware of potential threats. This can include regular reminders to update passwords, avoid clicking on suspicious links, and report any unusual activity. By promoting a culture of security awareness, employees can be empowered to take an active role in protecting their organisation. Studies have shown that real-time security awareness is far more effective than point-in-time training

The Challenges of Emerging Technologies

The fast pace of innovation and the continuous development of new technologies presents significant challenges for securing commercial space companies. As the industry grows, so do the number and types of technologies used, such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, and the Internet of Things (IoT). These technologies offer a range of benefits, from improved efficiency and performance to new revenue streams, but they also introduce new threat sources and potential security vulnerabilities.

The adoption of emerging technologies often outpaces the development of the necessary security measures, leaving companies exposed to new types of threats. Moreover, the complexity and interconnectivity of these technologies can make it difficult to identify and mitigate potential vulnerabilities, making it essential for companies to adopt a risk-based approach to security.

Another challenge posed is the lack of established standards and regulations, which can make it difficult for companies to comply with existing frameworks and for regulators to enforce them. Additionally, the shortage of skilled professionals with expertise in emerging technologies and security further compounds these challenges.

To address these challenges, commercial space companies need to stay informed about emerging technologies and their potential security implications. This includes participating in industry conferences, networking with peers, and engaging with technology vendors to stay up-to-date with the latest security incidents and developments in mitigating them. It is also crucial for companies to invest in training their employees on the proper use of new technologies and the potential security risks they pose when misused.

In conclusion

Securing commercial space operations requires a comprehensive cybersecurity strategy that covers all areas of security, including governance, threat management, supply chain security, incident response, regulatory compliance, training and awareness, and emerging technologies. By adopting a holistic approach to cybersecurity, commercial space companies can ensure that their operations remain secure and resilient in the face of evolving threats.

Arcanum is in NCSC assured consultancy, specialising in the Space sector. Visit our Space Sector page for more information on how Arcanum can help you manage the cyber security risks affecting your mission critical assets.