By Gregory Hale
With security incidents on the rise and becoming more sophisticated and safety levels reaching a plateau, the industry needs to make things more simple for operators.
Simple to use does not mean a dumbed-down technology. Rather, ease of use underlies the complexity of the technology underneath.
“There is an increasing threat of cyber security,” said Vimal Kapur, president, Honeywell Process Solutions (HPS) during his keynote address Monday at the Honeywell User Group in San Antonio, TX. “There isn’t a day when you don’t hear about an incident. Cyber attackers can get publicity they want. The intensity has been great.”
“There are two types of enterprises,” he said. “One that has been attacked and the ones that don’t know they have been attacked. If you have not been attacked that good for you. You are on the right side of the curve.
To help alleviate the crush of security concerns for operators, Kapur talked about their new Risk Manager, which is a digital dashboard designed to monitor, measure and manage security risk for control systems.
“Risk manager gives you actionable intelligence,” he said. “If you are not monitoring it all the time, then you will miss (a potential incident). It is a critical product. It is real-time monitoring and management of cyber security risks.”
Security continues to evolve and Kapur said HPS continues to ramp up its security enterprise.
“We have created a team of specialists who can do audits, identify vulnerabilities and recommend solutions,” he said.
Along with security awareness on the rise, safety remains our highest priority, but progress is leveling off, he said.
“For all industries combined, we’re down to about 3.5 incidents per 100 full-time workers” Kapur said. “We need to do something more to reduce those incidents. We need to think of new ways to improve safety in plants. More can be done to make things safer.”
In addition to safety and security issues, Kapur talked about the four main challenges facing manufacturers today:
1. Do more with less
2. Operate safely and in compliance
3. Leverage technology in order to stay relevant and competitive
4. Manage the skills gap
In a down market, especially in the oil and gas industry for which Honeywell is a big player, Kapur said capital spending is way down from previous years.
“Everything has to be justified harder than it ever has been before,” he said. “OpEx is down 12.3 percent in 2015. There is less capital available. Less operational spending available. That means we have to do more for less.”
But that also means technology becomes even more important today than it ever has as plants and workers get older.
“Plants are over 40 years old. Plants are older and they are not going away,” Kapur said. “Workers are getting older and they are going away.”
One of the moves HPS is doing is they are moving more to the cloud to enable stronger and quicker decision making.
“Cloud engineering is now a standard part of HPS,” Kapur said. That truly helps us do more with less.”