Oct 25, 2022

Armis Secures Supply Continuity of Bio-pharmaceutical Products

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As a heavyweight in the bio-pharmaceutical industry, Takeda Pharmaceutical Company takes its mission to deliver therapeutic medicines to patients all over the world very seriously. Any misstep in supply continuity can have adverse consequences for people who depend on their products to combat cancer, gastrointestinal disorders, neurological issues, and rare diseases.  

As a result of the company’s rapid growth from acquisitions, their 50 manufacturing plants across 100 countries house a combination of advanced, internet-connected devices and aging equipment. With supply continuity as his number one concern, Chief Digital Trust Officer Mike Towers was compelled to strengthen the enterprise’s security posture across the board, through greater asset visibility and tighter security controls. He began the process with a comprehensive evaluation of three competing solutions –  one of which was Armis.

Armis outperforms alternative solutions

Describing why he chose Armis over competing products, Towers explains, “Armis provided the fastest time to value and the widest coverage. Because it’s cloud-based, Armis is also simple to manage. All these factors made it an easy choice.”

The timeframe for his evaluation of Armis was approximately six weeks. By then, he had received enough data to see how Armis was able to provide valuable insights, such as uncovering a series of potential cyber risks. “It has already paid for itself,” says Towers.

Highly variable equipment was a challenge to secure before Armis

Towers points out the unique challenge he faced in securing his manufacturing environment. 

“Standardization is a security leader’s best friend in many respects—the same desktop type, the same mobile device type, the same server type, the same network type. You can’t do that in plants. When you have one plant making biologics, another plant making vaccines, another plant making pills, and another plant making liquid, by design, they’re highly variable,” he explains.

Because of that variability and lack of visibility, Towers was concerned about the security level on many of the plant’s devices. Armis provided the standardization and security that was lacking before. “Now we have a single asset repository and a single asset management solution for our entire manufacturing network.”

Towers views Armis as a foundational platform. “Before you can do anything from a security perspective, you have to know what’s in your environment,” he asserts, adding, “You can’t protect what you don’t know about.”

Real-time monitoring is key to security in a manufacturing environment

Not only does Armis provide a standardized view into each and every type of device on Takeda’s manufacturing network, it does so in real time. Towers believes this capability is a huge benefit when it comes to security, and it addresses his number one concern of supply continuity. “The biggest potential cause for not getting product to patients is that some sort of cyberattack takes a plant down and renders the machines unusable,” he points out.

Thanks to a constant flow of data from Armis, Towers and his team can quickly detect changes in network patterns and take action to prevent such an occurrence. “Any deviation from normalcy in these environments is very, very important to look at,” he remarks. “At Takeda, nothing comes before making sure that we get our medicines to patients, and Armis is one of the key contributors to making sure that we can do that,” asserts Towers.

Improved regulatory compliance and quality of manufacturing process

Towers has seen a change in the way the federal government regulates the pharmaceutical industry over the last five to 10 years. Whereas previously Takeda was more concerned about access or change control, now there is more focus on resiliency and protecting the manufacturing environment from outages to ensure product availability.  He points to Armis as one of the ways Takeda has improved the quality and compliance of their manufacturing process. Armis has helped the organization with its compliance submissions through its ability to show what regulators call “demonstration of control.”

Enhanced hygiene in the digital infrastructure

Another benefit derived from Armis is better data hygiene across the organization’s digital infrastructure. By integrating with other platforms, Armis delivers enriched insights and intelligence to help identify security threats and provide overall business context to decision makers. The integrations include Splunk, Exabeam, ServiceNow, and Tanium. Tower shares that, “It’s basically Tanium and Armis that we use to gather all of that data which provides us a more holistic view of how everything looks.”With Armis providing a foundational platform that standardizes data into a single asset repository and asset management solution, Towers can maintain tighter security across the manufacturing environment, improve regulatory compliance and manufacturing process quality, and share actionable business intelligence to leadership.

To learn more about how Armis helped Takeda strengthen their security posture and reduce supply continuity risk, read the case study.

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