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By Gregory Hale
Security is truly a business enabler that can provide manufacturers more than just an insurance policy. It can show real bottom line results by allowing manufacturers to keep their systems up and running and more productive.

That was one of the ideas behind a discussion with Rockwell Automation and Cisco Tuesday afternoon before Rockwell’s Automation Fair 2014 kicked off in Anaheim, CA.

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Security awareness is on the rise throughout the industry, but the idea of security being a business enabler is not resonating yet. But it will.

“Most manufacturing companies don’t get it yet,” said Bryan Tantzen, senior director of discrete manufacturing in the Connected Industries Group at Cisco Systems.

Schneider Bold

“Cyber is a board level issue,” said Rick Esker, senior director of Industry Solutions Group-EcoSystems Global Domain Leader, II and CRE at Cisco. “It is at the top of the shop. Security is a necessary entity.”

“We can’t tell a manufacturing company they have to invest in security by scaring them, that just won’t work,” said Sujeet Chand, senior vice president and chief technology officer at Rockwell Automation. “When they think about security, the change will occur incrementally.”

One of the many areas Cisco and Rockwell agreed on was the relationship between IT and OT seems to be getting stronger.

OT is looking more toward learning and using the IT expertise to enhance the plant floor environment, Tantzen said. “Bring the teams together. OT is looking for security help from IT.”

“More customers are having IT take over networking on the OT side,” Chand said. “I can’t remember any meeting I have had where there was not an IT person in the room.”

In a perfect security world, IT could just go out and tighten security controls to the degree where the systems can barely run. But, obviously, that is not what a manufacturer needs to keep its processes up and running.

“Clamping things down is not the way to go,” Chand said.

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