By Gregory Hale
Security needs to be at the forefront of manufacturing automation users’ minds just like safety.
“I urge each one of you to treat cyber security as you would process safety,” said Jason Urso, vice president and chief technology officer at Honeywell Process Solutions, during his technology keynote Monday at the Honeywell Users Group (HUG) meeting in Phoenix, AZ. “Cyber security can protect your systems, especially with the threats we are facing today.”
As it is every year at HUG, Urso went over a slew of new product introductions and enhancements. One of the key products he 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.
While no one solution is a “silver bullet” to protect against an attack, application whitelisting is a solid tool to help slow down or thwart a bad guy from getting into your system.
Honeywell, Urso said, also is adding encrypted and authenticated communications to boost its security portfolio.
Urso also talked about some safety improvements like the Unisim operating training solution and giving a focus on alarms.
“Operators, when they are in critical moments and have to make decisions, they are overwhelmed by alarms,” 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.
“Customers are demanding higher availability from their virtual environments,” Urso said. “Virtualization solutions using blade servers offer that extra layer of reliability.”