New capability ensures configuration data integrity and signal tracing to improve process safety, reduce cyber risk and support digital transformation
PAS (now PAS Global, part of Hexagon) has long provided some valuable and interesting solutions for process automation. Its Integrity series of configuration management tools now integrated with its cyber security work offers many benefits. This announcement was highlighted at our meetings (virtual, of course) at the 2021 ARC Industry Forum.
PAS Global announced Sensor Data Integrity, a new Automation Integrity module, which enables industrial organizations to ensure configuration data integrity for smart and traditional sensors with signal tracing and validation. This addition to Automation Integrity helps reduce both process safety and cyber risk in support of digital transformation and Industrie 4.0 initiatives.
As industrial organizations expand their deployment of smart sensors, it is becoming increasingly more complex to manage configuration consistency across field device management, distributed control systems (DCS), programmable logic controllers (PLC), safety instrumented systems (SIS), historians and other operational technology (OT). Managing the complex configuration of millions of multi-vendor sensors consistently has become a major challenge for industrial companies. The lack of effective sensor management also puts digital transformation initiatives at risk of falling short of their intended benefits, potentially wasting multimillion-dollar investments.
The new Sensor Data Integrity module provides multi-vendor:
- Discovery of smart, industrial IoT, and traditional analog sensors
- Visibility to the complete inventory and potential cyber vulnerability for sensors
- Creation of templates to define approved configuration for each sensor type
- Automated detection of configuration errors
- Automated identification of devices that don’t match assigned templates
- Cross-checking of parameters (ranges, units, etc.)
- Support for large-scale, multi-site sensor deployments
- Sensor signal tracing, validation and visualization
The information provided by Sensor Data Integrity can also be leveraged by sensor asset management systems (AMS) to support instrument calibration and can feed PAS Cyber Integrity to support cybersecurity vulnerability assessments.
“PAS has a strong history of customer-led innovation and the development of Sensor Data Integrity builds on that tradition,” said Eddie Habibi, PAS Founder. “The expansion of smart sensors is making it increasingly difficult for operations teams to monitor for configuration drift and inconsistencies. This means teams are spending more time trying to find issues instead of correcting them, which increases the risk of poor plant performance and cyber vulnerabilities. PAS, now part of Hexagon, is the first technology provider addressing this challenge with a multi-vendor solution that works across OT systems.”
With Sensor Data Integrity, industrial organizations will:
- Reduce manual effort in reconciling sensor and field device configurations
- Improve plant performance and reduce safety risk (e.g., fewer unit trips due to bad configurations)
- Reduce sensor configuration drift and errors by more than 40%
- Enhance decision-making with higher-quality sensor diagnostics
- Leverage sensor data for vulnerability assessment and obsolescence planning
- Reduce sensor-related cost overruns before startup (e.g., accelerated loop check out)
“Multi-vendor sensor configuration management is a long-standing challenge in the industrial sector and the problem is only getting worse with the proliferation of smart sensors,” said Larry O’Brien, Research VP ARC Advisory Group. “In a 2017 study, ARC estimated the process industries lose as much as $1 trillion per year due to unplanned downtime. Misconfigured or inconsistent sensor configurations are key contributors to these events. We are pleased to see PAS, with support from key customers, has introduced sensor data integrity to address this pervasive and growing problem.”