IIoT hinges on effective security

Honeywell Process Solutions (HPS) president Vimal Kapur talked about the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and how cybersecurity will be key as manufacturing starts to embrace its potential in the next few years.

By Gregory Hale, ISSSource July 21, 2016

Manufacturing operations will embrace the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), but it will not be a sudden and jarring transformation, rather it will be a long evolutionary process.

The catch is, though, as it is becoming more abundantly clear with everything in the industry, security will be the underlying linchpin that will make or break this new era of operations. 

"For the first time in our professional careers that we have had better tools in our personal life than in our work lives," said Vimal Kapur, president of Honeywell Process Solutions during his keynote at the 2016 Honeywell Users Group (HUG) Americas conference in San Antonio, Tex. "(How technology) has changed in the last four years is greater than the previous 10 years, and the next two years will multiply by a factor of 2 or 3. We have made advances (in productivity) over the past few years and IIoT will help improve things moving forward." 

Kapur said IIoT will help solve key business issues all plants face in terms of production efficiency, process reliability and safety.

Change, he said, is not new for the industry and there have been plenty of inflection points over the past few decades or so and Kapur pointed out Honyewell’s involvement like lean execution of automation projects, Assurance 360 services program and issues such as systems nearing obsolescence among others, but IIoT promises to be one of those major shifts that can totally disrupt the manufacturing automation sector.

"IIoT is an evolution," Kapur said. "It is moving legacy systems into the new age of technology to take advantage of everything new technology and connectivity have to bring."

When it comes to IIoT and safety, Abnormal Situation Management (ASM) in plants has been gathering data for over 20 years. They have been able to cull predictive analytics where safety experts developed proprietary pattern recognition algorithms, which led to an IIoT Intelligent Offering Suite for alarm management, early event detection, event monitoring, simulation training and user friendly graphics. Through the ASM endeavor, they are able to drive safety improvements and reduce overall nuisance alarms by up to 80 percent, improve time to solve problems by 40 percent and faster recover from abnormal situations.

Kapur also talked about a comprehensive cybersecurity offering including:

  • Audits and remediation
  • Secure network refresh
  • Application whitelisting
  • Risk manager
  • Secure media exchange
  • Managed security services.

One of the other elements in an IIoT environment is being able to aggregate data from multi-vendor equipment. That is why they created a comprehensive suite to provide secure connectivity to multi-vendor equipment.

Another element of the IIoT is being able to leverage data across the entire manufacturing enterprise to ensure maximum productivity. Of course, that also has to occur via a secure collaboration so information going from the plant through the cloud to subject matter experts across the globe occurs without an incident.

That secure environment must end up enriched by increasing the security skill sets not only for security professionals, but for everyone in the manufacturing enterprise, he added.

"We want to take secure data from the site through the cloud to expert support," Kapur said. "Stretching the powers of IIoT all has to happen in a cyber secure environment."

Gregory Hale is the editor and founder of Industrial Safety and Security Source (ISSSource.com), a news and information Website covering safety and security issues in the manufacturing automation sector. This content originally appeared on ISSSource.com. Edited by Chris Vavra, production editor, CFE Media, Control Engineeringcvavra@cfemedia.com.

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