By Gregory Hale
Safety and security or security and safety; either way, users should treat them the same.
“Take cyber security seriously as you do safety,” said Jason Urso, vice president and chief technology officer at Honeywell Process Solutions, during his technology keynote Tuesday at the Honeywell Users Group (HUG) EMEA meeting in Nice, France. “They are becoming one and the same.”
Urso added with Microsoft discontinuing support for Windows XP this coming April, there could be an extra added security issue when that happens. Since support will not be there, and the possibility of attackers learning new exploits, users could feel the security pinch.
Whether it is at the HUG Americas or here in Nice at the EMEA HUG, Urso went over a slew of new product introductions and enhancements. One of key product introduction that is not out yet, but will release shortly is the DynAMo alarm management suite.
The new suite, Urso said, can give users better visibility on how you handle alarms. “You can turn noise into knowledge.” The more users can get a grasp on the important alarms, the more that increases plant safety. In theory, it can reduce alarms by 80 percent, he said.
Urso also said 42 percent of process incidents occur because of improper operation or actions. That is where the Unisim operating training solution can come into play.
When operators are in critical moments and have to make decisions, they are overwhelmed by alarms, so the simulator can teach how to figure out which are the important alarms and which ones can wait.
One of the key products Urso talked about was Honeywell’s whitelisting solution they launched late last year.
Application whitelisting permits the execution of explicitly allowed (or whitelisted) software and blocks execution of everything else. This eliminates the execution of unknown executables, including malware.
One challenge when using application whitelisting in business networks is managing the constantly changing list of allowed applications. That burden reduces in control systems environments, because the set of applications that run in those systems is essentially static.
Application whitelisting is a solid tool to help slow down or thwart a bad guy from getting into your system. “Malware can get stopped dead in its tracks,” Urso said.
Honeywell also is adding encrypted and authenticated communications to boost its security portfolio, he said.
He also introduced Honeywell’s control room of the future where operators have a completely different view of the process and it is much easier to understand what is and is not working in the process.
In addition, Urso talked about virtualization. By “virtualizing” devices, one server can run multiple operating systems and applications simultaneously. Cutting down on the amount of servers needed and also reducing costs.
As a part of the virtualization initiative, Honeywell released a blade solution optimized for virtualization. The Experion Virtualization Solutions package allows offshore oil and gas, refining and petrochemical customers to increase operations availability and reduce costs.