Secure plant means more uptime

If a manufacturer can protect itself against an inside attack, then that line of defense should be strong enough to withstand a chunk of outside attacks.


Security is all about uptime.

"Attacks are happening almost weekly, mostly in the enterprise, but they are happening in industrial plants as well," said Jeff Zindel, global cyber security business leader at Honeywell Process Solutions (HPS), during a talk at the opening of Honeywell's interactive demonstration center in Houston.

The direct consequences of an attack could be substantial, including:

  • Unplanned downtime
  • Loss of product or impaired quality
  • Manipulation of data
  • Unauthorized use of systems
  • Damaged reputation
  • Monetary damages.

Strong products are one thing, but building a solid defense in depth program should be the goal of any security plan. One way to assure a defense in depth program is to subscribe to a managed security services program, Zindel said.

The program, which he said is up and running at around 300 sites, can help ensure continued uptime with the provider assessing, designing, implementing, and continuously monitoring a solution for the individual organization. In addition, there will be proactive defense in a continuous monitoring and analysis of the system. This way the manufacturer can focus on continuing the task of keeping the process in control and making more product. The goal of a managed program is to provide:

  • A secure, encrypted connection that initiates a communication tunnel for services.
  • Intelligence reporting that delivers insights into the operation and security status of DCS components and the process control network (PCN).
  • Continuous monitoring and alerting, which provides 24/7 monitoring of system, network and cyber security performance, and automated alerting against thresholds.
  • Protection management that provides tested and approved patches and anti-malware definitions.
  • Perimeter and intrusion management, which offers firewall support and intrusion protection system (IPS) implementation and management.

Managed services is just one aspect in what Zindel calls Honeywell's "six-pack" of security, which includes:

  1. Assessments and audits
  2. Architecture and design
  3. Network and security
  4. Endpoint protection
  5. Situational awareness
  6. Response and recovery.

"We are not just talking about a piece of security, we are doing it all," he said.

Zindel said the company continues investing millions of dollars into security. In one case, the company will be opening a cyber security lab in Atlanta this December. At the lab Honeywell will be able to simulate cyber attacks, he said.

The company is also investing in a tool called Industrial Risk Manager, where it will be able, in a real-time environment, to conduct risk assessment and management. It will be able to drill down and indicate what is happening on the system, he said. The tool could be a stand-alone product or also work with the managed services program.

Zindel's talk coincided with the Tuesday opening of Honeywell's interactive demonstration center in Houston that will give its industrial users a glimpse into the future of managing manufacturing operations.

The Customer Experience Center (CEC), located at Honeywell Process Solutions' global headquarters, shows high-tech technologies for oil and gas, refining, petrochemicals, mining, power generation, and pulp and paper.

In keeping in line with Zindel's talk, the center shows how safety, physical and cyber security systems can fully integrate within facilities to achieve protection. It also features advanced software that helps manufacturers design their processes, train their operators and optimize daily operations.

The center includes a plant control room outfitted with Honeywell's Experion Process Knowledge System (PKS) Orion Console. The console is a new interface that uses the integration of larger screens, touchscreen displays, mobile device capabilities and other technologies to better assist plant operators running some of the world's most critical and complex manufacturing facilities.

Gregory Hale is the editor and founder of Industrial Safety and Security Source (, a news and information website covering safety and security issues in the manufacturing automation sector. This content originally appeared on the ISSSource website. ISSSource is a CFE Media content partner. Edited by Joy Chang, digital project manager, Control Engineering, 

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