Industrial automation networkingI wrote yesterday that there exist companies in our industry that exhibit the stability of leadership of National Instruments. Rockwell Automation is one of those. Rockwell additionally is attempting to move from an old-fashioned product-oriented company to one that seeks to express itself as an industry thought leader.

Keith Nosbusch, Rockwell CEO, has been personally involved with national discussions of manufacturing leadership. He has expressed his passion for the topic several times to me in personal interviews.

The next step is for the marketing and PR teams to learn how to promote the company as a thought leader in manufacturing. Rockwell has positioned itself firmly in the Ethernet camp for manufacturing networking infrastructure. Users of technology have deep concern for network security. Hence, a new initiative from Rockwell.

Network Security Initiative

Rockwell Automation announced an initiative on Aug. 5, 2013 to help manufacturers reduce security risks to control systems in response to growing cyber-security threats. The initiative will help automation and IT professionals more effectively secure their industrial processes with a combination of control system design and best practices, contemporary technologies and professional services from Rockwell Automation and its strategic partnerships, including Cisco.

“The rapidly evolving nature of the industrial security landscape makes it critical that today’s manufacturers view security as an ongoing business imperative, rather than a one-time investment event,” said Sujeet Chand, senior vice president and chief technology officer, Rockwell Automation. “A more secure network infrastructure will allow manufacturers to deploy contemporary technologies and emerging solutions, like mobility, virtualization and cloud computing, while still performing mission-critical automation functions. Rockwell Automation is dedicated to providing the technologies and resources that will help facilitate the design and management of a secure connected enterprise.”

Three-pronged Initiative

Defense-in-Depth Methodology: Addressing both internal and external threats by forming multiple layers of defense which help mitigate various types of risks. The Rockwell Automation defense-in-depth approach employed in an industrial control system design and operation helps manufacturers by establishing processes and policies that identify and contain evolving threats in industrial systems.

Secure Automation Architecture: The industrial control system represents the heart of production, and the security of information used for control, configuration and monitoring is critical. Rockwell Automation is committed to providing an evolving set of products and services that help to reduce risks, and better protect and enhance the security of your production assets. From active consulting engagements to specific product offerings, such as managed switches, secure communications, user authentication and access control, and end-point capabilities for tamper proofing and tamper evidence, Rockwell Automation is continuing to make investments to bring security practices and products to its customers.

Enterprise-Ready Industrial Security Solutions:

By teaming with Cisco and other industry leaders in physical network designs and software applications, Rockwell Automation is addressing both IT and industrial automation security challenges. Leveraging open-standard technology, Rockwell Automation and Cisco are helping manufacturers build a unified, secure environment from the enterprise to the end device on the plant floor. Together, the companies advocate for a common network architecture approach that helps decrease inconsistencies in network protocols, security practices and training. In the future, Rockwell Automation and Cisco will offer guidance on topics, such as resilient network design, access control, contextual identity management and protection of assets, through a portfolio of jointly developed industrial products and industrial control system security resources.

“Rockwell Automation and Cisco are leading the way in helping manufacturers recognize that information security spans from the plant floor through the enterprise,” said Guido Jouret, vice president and general manager of the Internet of Things business unit for Cisco. “It’s important to take what we’ve learned in the IT space and educate manufactures on the business value associated with taking a consistent and seamless approach to security. Together we’re delivering expertise and solutions to help secure their important physical and intellectual assets in a world with dynamic security threats.”

The industrial security initiative from Rockwell Automation is based on a multilayer network design approach that combines resiliency in the infrastructure with security-enabled, end-point devices to help manufacturers establish a sustainable security culture, conduct comprehensive security assessments, and deploy a robust security infrastructure across both automation and industrial IT assets. Core to the initiative is implementation of a secure network infrastructure based on the use of the standard Internet Protocol (IP).

Here are a few resources the company has offered:

Rockwell Automation Industrial Security products and technologies.

Rockwell Automation Security Services.

Rockwell Automation Reference Architectures for Manufacturing.

Design Considerations for Securing Industrial Automation and Control System Networks white paper.

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