Industry 4.0 and Cyber Security

Industry 4.0 and Cyber Security

Industry 4.0, Industrial Internet of Things IIoT, Cloud – what does it mean for your business?

Plenty of information has been circulating on the digitisation of the industrial landscape and the possible benefits it may bring.  We have the technology right now to connect machine components down to the sensor level and tie this into the Operational Technology (OT) sphere.  We can collect production data, track processes, up time, down time, etc.  and publish it all to one of the many cloud based services.   We can take this data and perform analytics to give insight into possible production optimisations, predictive maintenance schedules, and much more.  Because it is in the cloud – we can access this information anywhere with an Internet connection.  Sounds great until you start to think about all the possible cyber security threats that you are now exposed to.  Is your company equipped to properly assess the risks associated with this increased connectivity?  How well does your IT group understand the challenges of the OT group with respect to cyber security?

In Canada, our Federal Government has created a Cyber Security group under Public Safety Canada with a subsection focused on Industrial Control Systems (ICS).  They host symposiums and workshops all over the country focused on ICS Cyber Security.  Their main audience is critical infrastructure – water, energy, chemical, defence, traffic, communications, etc.   The thing is; cyber security is of importance and interest to anyone who connects any portion of their business process to the Internet.  Prior to Industry 4.0, OT plant floor networks may have been segregated from the IT world and even the Internet.  Today that is becoming more and more difficult to ignore the benefits connectivity brings.   Are the risks worth the benefits?  It’s a question you will have to assess for yourself.  With careful planning and selection of the right equipment and staff to maintain them, you can enjoy the benefits of this highly connected Industrial world. 

One of Rotalec’s Vendors – Bedrock Automation has formed their whole business on an intrinsically safe  Cyber Secure environment.  They have created a product line they call Open Secure Automation (OSA).  They have published a four part white paper that is well worth reading.  Visit Bedrock for more information. 

How important is Cyber Security?  At a recent conference – Trio Motion – one of our Motion Control Vendors revealed they were working hard to include OPC UA secure connectivity as standard for their line of controllers.   They recognised that security is key to connectivity in the IIoT / Industry 4.0 era.

Cyber Security is just one aspect of business planning.  It has to be done at the beginning, and not an afterthought.  At Rotalec we can offer a number of products and services suitable for use in the Industrial Environment to help you join the revolution.


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