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Cyber Security for Industrial Automation Components in Industrie 4.0

Published on 11/02/2016 | Technology

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Vladimir Skabaro

Vladimir is Omron's Product Marketing Manager of Industrial Sensors. He managed the entire life cycle from strategic planning to tactical activities of the European and Global product lines and addresses new market potential.



Cyber Security will be the “sine qua non” of the next-generation enterprises, considering the impact of horizontal digital integration of production. Industrie 4.0 pave the way to have impact on digitalization in regards to commodity market. Even binary sensors, with standard functionality, within context of Industrie 4.0 will become the source of data. This information become subject of protection and Data management.

Cyber Security in Automation Products

In the terms of automation commodity products, cyber security may be applied in the three levels:

- Security on the product level (Inherent Security)

- Security of the networking system where the components are applied (Field connection Security)

- Security and protection of managed data within the system (Item data security)

Any company which is going to enter in the automation commodity market has to consider a solid strategy to ensure security on all three levels.

Product-level Security

On the product level, cyber security can be realised in different ways. As a simple solution, even the integrated function of ID/MAC number (Identification Number) can be considered as a way of protection information, potentially transferred from the component (for example, from the sensor or relay).

Already today, by applying I/O-link technology, automation industrial components can generate and transfer information to enable preventive maintenance projection, external application conditions or information about technical characteristics, etc. All this information should be secured from the risk of external unauthorised alteration.

Future proof digitalized automation of machines within Industrie 4.0 context, have to manage data security in far larger scale than today down to every binary device. This information has to be reliably used for the fast reconfiguration of machines to maintain the mass production of customised products.

Securing Reliable Production Cycles

Security and reliability of the communication and integrated components will become the key factor for stable and reliable production cycle in end-users using automation.

Protection of stored data of automation commodity components is considered an important factor for cyber security within digitalized industrial environment. Independently from recourses used for storing of information – internal server solution or external services (e.g. clouds solutions), information need to be inherently protected and easily accessible for operative technical decisions.

100% cyber security may not be feasible due to the increased complexity. Digitalized industrial automation raises the challenge of protecting sensible information. Even for industrial commodity products, cyber security will become one more important value factor for each stage in the whole value chain.

Every company in this value chain should clearly understand their role, and how to protect not only devices but also protect data generated by these components. Any sales company which understands this future need of customers and is able to propose tailored solutions will gain a competitive advantage on the commodity market in the digitalized industrial environment of Industrie 4.0.

Originally published on LinkedIn.

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