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Rockwell launches three-pronged cyber-security plan

05 August, 2013

Rockwell Automation has announced an initiative to help manufacturers to cut risks to their control systems from cyber-security threats. The initiative aims to help automation and IT professionals to secure industrial processes more effectively using a combination of control system design, best practices, technologies and services from Rockwell and its strategic partners, including Cisco.

The initiative is based on a multilayer approach to network design that combines infrastructure resiliency with security-enabled end-point devices, to help manufacturers establish a sustainable security culture, to conduct security assessments, and to deploy a robust security infrastructure across their automation and industrial IT assets. A core element of the initiative is the implementation of secure network infrastructures based on the standard Internet Protocol (IP).

“The rapidly-evolving nature of the industrial security landscape makes it critical that today’s manufacturers view security as an on-going business imperative, rather than a one-time investment event,” says Sujeet Chand, Rockwell’s senior vice-president and chief technology officer. “A more secure network infrastructure will allow manufacturers to deploy contemporary technologies and emerging solutions – like mobility, virtualisation and cloud computing – while still performing mission-critical automation functions.”

The three-pronged initiative is designed to help achieve secure connected enterprises through:

•  Defence-in-depth Addressing both internal and external threats by creating multiple layers of defence which help to mitigate various types of risk. This approach, applied in industrial control system design and operation, helps manufacturers by establishing processes and policies that identify and contain evolving threats.

•  Secure automation architecture Rockwell says it is committed to providing an evolving set of products and services that will help to reduce risks, and protect and enhance the security of production assets. These range from consulting services to specific products – such as managed switches, secure communications, user authentication and access control.

Sujeet Chand: security is an on-going business imperative

•  Enterprise-ready industrial security solutions By teaming up with Cisco and other partners in the design of networks and software applications, Rockwell says it is addressing both IT and industrial automation security challenges. Rockwell and Cisco say they are helping manufacturers to build a unified, secure environment from the enterprise to the plant floor. They advocate a common network architecture approach that helps to decrease inconsistencies in network protocols, security practices and training.

Rockwell Automation and Cisco plan to offer guidance on topics such as resilient network design, access control, and the protection of assets, through a portfolio of jointly developed industrial products and control system security resources. For example, they have recently produced a White Paper on design on considerations for securing industrial automation networks.

“It’s important to take what we’ve learned in the IT space and educate manufacturers on the business value associated with taking a consistent and seamless approach to security,” says Guido Jouret, Cisco vice-president and general manager of its Internet of Things business. 

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