The Cisco and Rockwell Automation partnership continues its step-by-step extension strengthening Rockwell’s “Connected Enterprise” strategy. This strategy builds on the foundation of EtherNet/IP and CIP (common industrial protocol). Now that all the magazines and newspapers and bloggers are writing about the Internet of Things and the Industrial Internet of Things, supplier communications managers cannot keep themselves from applying IoT to everything their companies do.

The two companies have issued two press releases recently. One concerns enhanced training couched in the strategy of bringing IT and OT together (the once and future kingdom). The other relates to extensions and additions to the partners’ reference architecture.

First, let’s see how many buzz words a marketing manager can fit into one sentence:

“The expansion of the Industrial Internet of Things (IoT) and convergence of operations technology (OT) and information technology (IT) systems into The Connected Enterprise raises questions of who within industrial organizations should design and oversee unified network infrastructures. Rockwell Automation, in collaboration with its Strategic Alliance partner Cisco, is helping address this workforce challenge with the new training and certification offerings.”

Last year, the companies jointly rolled out the Managing Industrial Networks with Cisco Networking Technologies (IMINS) training course and Cisco Industrial Networking Specialist certification. This first-of-its-kind course provided foundational skills needed to manage and administer networked, industrial control systems.

This year, Rockwell Automation and Cisco are unveiling the five-day, hands-on Managing Industrial Networks for Manufacturing with Cisco Technologies (IMINS2) course and CCNA Industrial certification exam. The course offers deeper analysis of EtherNet/IP architectures with industrial protocols, wireless and security technologies implementation, and advanced troubleshooting. The CCNA Industrial certification ensures that OT and IT professionals have the skillset needed to design, manage and operate converged industrial networks.

Pathways to Certification

Students who successfully complete the Industrial Networking Specialist and CCNA Industrial certification exams will earn CCNA Industrial certification. Alternatively, IT and OT professionals that already have their CCNA Routing & Switching or Cisco Certified Entry Networking Technician (CCENT) certification can enroll directly in IMINS2 and take the CCNA Industrial certification exam to receive CCNA Industrial certification. Once completed, the certification is valid for three years.

Participants in the IMINS and IMINS2 courses will receive exam vouchers for the Industrial Networking Specialist and CCNA Industrial certification exams, respectively, as part of course tuition. This offer is only available through courses offered and delivered by Rockwell Automation. The CCNA Industrial certification exam can be taken at one of any Pearson VUE testing centers located in more than 165 countries.

IMINS courses are offered on an ongoing basis. The enrollment schedule for IMINS2 will be posted in June, with classes beginning in July. As the leader in OT/IT skills development, Rockwell Automation will continue to invest in The Connected Enterprise and IoT training curriculum to address emerging skills requirements.

Converged Plantwide Ethernet Architectures (CPwE)

As industrial markets evolve to unlock the promise of the Internet of Things (IoT), Rockwell Automation and Cisco are announcing new additions to their Converged Plantwide Ethernet (CPwE) architectures to help operations technology (OT) and information technology (IT) professionals address constantly changing security practices. The latest CPwE security expansions, featuring technology from both companies, include design guidance and validated architectures to help build a more secure network across the plant and enterprise.

The Industrial IoT is elevating the need for highly flexible, secure connectivity between things, machines, work flows, databases and people, enabling new models of policy-based plant-floor access. Through these new connections, machine data on the plant floor can be analyzed and applied to determine optimal operation and supply-chain work flows for improved efficiencies and cost savings. A securely connected environment also enables organizations to mitigate risk with policy compliance, and protects intellectual property with secure sharing between global stakeholders.

Core to the new validated architectures is a focus on enabling OT and IT professionals to utilize security policies and procedures by forming multiple layers of defense. A defense-in-depth approach helps manufacturers by establishing processes and policies that identify and contain evolving threats in industrial automation and control systems. The new CPwE architectures leverage open industry standards, such as IEC 62443, and provide recommendations for more securely sharing data across an industrial demilitarized zone, as well as enforcing policies that control access to the plantwide wired or wireless network.

Rockwell Automation and Cisco have created resources to help manufacturers efficiently deploy security solutions. Each new guide is accompanied by a white paper summarizing the key design principles, as follows:

The Industrial Demilitarized Zone Design and Implementation Guide and white paper provide guidance to users on securely sharing data from the plant floor through the enterprise.

The Identity Services Design and Implementation Guide and white paper introduce an approach to security policy enforcement that tightly controls access by anyone inside the plant, whether they’re trying to connect via wired or wireless access.

This announcement further extends the commitment by Rockwell Automation and Cisco to be one of the most valuable resources in the industry for helping manufacturers improve business performance by bridging the gap between plant-floor industrial automation and higher-level information systems.

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