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Security - Woman at table on laptop

Backing the Industrial Internet of Things with Industrial-Strength Security

At Emerson, we see complex security measures that ensure critical operations data remains both accessible to those who need it—and safe from those who don’t.

Billions of sensors are in use across manufacturing, working together to monitor the collective “things” that make up the ubiquitous Internet of Things (IoT). They have different jobs and gather data that varies from one industry to the next, but they all have one element in common: Data—and lots of it.

For decades, manufacturers primarily used highly secure private networks to control critical plant functions, or Operational Technology (OT). But in recent years, oil and gas and other manufacturing industries have started considering and implementing IoT applications that enable more widespread and cost-effective monitoring and control of facilities, while also reducing costs and increasing flexibility.

By definition, Industrial IoT applications require moving data from existing private networks through the global internet to remote experts and supply chain partners. That requires security to be front and center. At Emerson, we see complex security measures that ensure critical operations data remains both accessible to those who need it—and safe from those who don’t.

With more than 25 years of experience in smart sensors, wireless technologies, and digital automation, Emerson delivers a wide array of secure, networked OT solutions to oil and gas and other industries. As we help lead the transition to Industrial IoT today, we’ve seen one universal truth:? the growth of Industrial IoT is dictated by moving that same confidence in security.?

Securing the Industrial IoT requires focus on four zones that comprise most applications: sensors that remotely gather data, the “first mile” of OT networks that convert this data and securely connect it to the internet, software that stores and processes the data to generate valuable insights, and finally, the people who design, manage and use these networks.

Emerson recently expanded its highly sophisticated PlantwebTM digital ecosystem to help manufacturers securely address these four zones as they adopt Industrial IoT to automate processes and maximize efficiency.?

  1. Sensors?
    Emerson helps customers deploy devices and wireless networks that measure and track everything from energy efficiency and hazardous gas leaks to corrosion and maintenance needs. These devices and networks are designed with always-on security capabilities front and center, with features such as encryption and key management. This high level of security makes them suitable for use in critical OT systems.
  2. The “Secure First Mile”
    We refer to the connections between a facility’s private OT network and the internet as the first mile. These communication connections at manufacturing facilities must be designed to allow companies to selectively connect highly secure OT data with highly secure private or cloud networks for real-time analysis. A secure first mile can be achieved using a tiered network infrastructure to connect the OT network to the internet. Tiered networks provide security by protecting different tiers with specialized firewalls and applications.?
  3. Data Storage & Software
    Many third-party application providers (such as Emerson) are taking advantage of leading cloud computing environments, such as Microsoft Azure, which have already proven their strong security among IT departments of many leading corporations.? Generally speaking, this approach is well-accepted because it relies on services most companies have already vetted, and have met the most stringent global security certifications and regional requirements.
  4. People and Policies?
    Manufacturers need to develop and enforce clear security policies that are known and understood by all employees who interact with IoT network elements. Access to equipment and software should be limited to employees with a direct need, and access to facilities where Industrial IoT is deployed must be strictly controlled to maximize both the security and value of data.

Industrial manufacturers are quickly learning that the best strategy for Industrial IoT adoption is a scalable one…beginning with a specific business problem to solve.? With proven solutions in place for every layer of security, we see Emerson helping manufacturers adopt Industrial IoT technologies with confidence.

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