The time to get your plant connected to the Industrial Internet is now. But implementing the proper security measures is essential and must be considered in the initial planning stages.
Industrial networks—the data highways bringing information into, out of and often throughout the automation systems—are the key place to make your defense.
"Security is important because of the control and information convergence of The Connected Enterprise," said Gregory Wilcox, global business development manager, networks, Rockwell Automation, in his presentation and demonstration with Rick Antholine, commercial project engineer, Rockwell Automation, at Rockwell Automation TechED in San Diego. "The people, processes and data of the Internet of Everything require a scalable, robust, secure, future-ready infrastructure."
Wilcox goes on to explain that the basic security layer is physical. First, limit physical access to equipment then harden your computer systems.
"That leaves fewer things to patch and manage," said Wilcox.
In many plants, networks have grown organically over time. This results in large, flat networks that are hard to defend. The demo during the TechED presentation explained that it is best to segment a flat network into virtual LANs with limited functionality and access, and to provide overall access only for those who need it.
The key is to go ahead and get started. "Good enough security now is better than perfect security never," said Wilcox, quoting Tim West at Data General.
Learn more about this Rockwell Automation TechED presentation in the Control article, “How to secure your industrial networks.” The article includes 5 essential steps to follow when planning plant security.