Paul Simon wrote that it’s all happening at the zoo. Today, it’s all happening at the edge. ATT Cybersecurity has released its 2023 AT&T Cybersecurity Insights Report: Edge Ecosystem focusing on manufacturing companies worldwide. It explains how edge computing is changing manufacturing to solve operational issues and reduce costs. This report reveals what your peers are planning and doing to embrace edge computing.
The lead and author of the report, Head of Cybersecurity Evangelism at AT&T Business Theresa Lanowitz, states, “In the past, IT typically made technology decisions based on business and computing requirements they understood. Thanks to ongoing advances in computing, things are changing.”
She contends Edge computing is a transformative technology that brings together various stakeholders and aligns their interests to drive integrated business outcomes. The emergence of edge computing has been fueled by a generation of visionaries who grew up in the era of smartphones and limitless possibilities. In this paradigm, the role of IT has shifted from being the sole leader to a collaborative partner in delivering innovative edge computing solutions. In addition, we found that leaders in manufacturing are budgeting differently for edge use cases. These two things, along with an expanded approach to securing edge computing, were prioritized by the respondents in the 2023 AT&T Cybersecurity Insights Report: Edge Ecosystem.
Topline research findings
In 2023, the manufacturing respondents’ primary edge use case is smart warehousing, which involves deploying computing resources close to or on the warehouse floor. The enhanced productivity of warehouse employees, flexible logistics, and better optimization of warehouse space are some benefits of edge computing. This represents a shift from the primary use case in the 2022 AT&T Cybersecurity Insights Report: Securing the Edge, which focused on video-based quality inspection as the primary manufacturing edge computing use case.
Press releases concerning warehousing and logistics up and downstream constituted the majority of my inbox for the past few years. Looks like this is reflected in the research.
As manufacturing has evolved, the need for efficiency and speed is focused on moving goods out of warehouses and onto the next stop of either consumption or integration. The rising cost of labor and customer expectations for next-day or same-day deliveries drive the need for greater investments in rapidly understanding which products are most likely needed to fulfill a sales pipeline or supply chain.
This is AT&T Cybersecurity, after all, so it cites following cybersecurity challenges with the edge:
- Potentially more vulnerable data – especially when such devices are at risk of being stolen, lost or damaged.
- Legacy 4G threats, when the increased use of sensors and cameras on a production line can benefit from 5G capabilities and its enhanced encryption.
- Concerns regarding regulatory compliance, specifically when personally identifiable information (PII) is being transferred from the edge site to a different location.
- State-affiliated Groups Responsible for nearly 60%
- 60% of incidents result in operational disruption, driving the need for proactive OT defenses and incident response
The topics of this time are Cybersecurity, Sustainability, and Workforce with the impact of AI playing on all three. This news from Rockwell Automation focuses on Cybersecurity. It has released a report on an in-depth study of the topic by Cyentia Institute. The report is comprehensive deserving of a thorough read.
Rockwell Automation announced the findings of its report “Anatomy of 100+ Cybersecurity Incidents in Industrial Operations.” The global study conducted by Cyentia Institute analyzed 122 cybersecurity events that included a direct compromise of operational technology (OT) and/or industrial control system (ICS) operations, collecting and reviewing nearly 100 data points for each incident.
Don’t think you are immune from global politics. Unfortunately.
The first edition of the report finds nearly 60% of cyberattacks against the industrial sector are led by state-affiliated actors and often unintentionally enabled by internal personnel (about 33% of the time). This corroborates other industry research showing OT/ICS security incidents are increasing in volume and frequency, and are targeting critical infrastructure, such as energy producers.
“Energy, critical manufacturing, water treatment and nuclear facilities are among the types of critical infrastructure industries under attack in the majority of reported incidents,” said Mark Cristiano, commercial director of Global Cybersecurity Services at Rockwell Automation. “Anticipating that stricter regulations and standards for reporting cybersecurity attacks will become commonplace, the market can expect to gain invaluable insights regarding the nature and severity of attacks and the defenses necessary to prevent them in the future.”
- OT/ICS cybersecurity incidents in the last three years have already exceeded the total number reported between 1991-2000.
- Threat actors are most intensely focused on the energy sector (39% of attacks) – over three times more than the next most frequently attacked verticals, critical manufacturing (11%) and transportation (10%).
- Phishing remains the most popular attack technique (34%), underscoring the importance of cybersecurity tactics such as segmentation, air gapping, Zero Trust and security awareness training to mitigate risks.
- In more than half of OT/ICS incidents, Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) systems are targeted (53%), with Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs) as the next-most-common target (22%).
- More than 80% of threat actors come from outside organizations, yet insiders play an unintentional role in opening the door for threat actors in approximately one-third of incidents.
In the OT/ICS incidents studied, 60% resulted in operational disruption and 40% resulted in unauthorized access or data exposure. However, the damage of cyberattacks extends beyond the impacted enterprise, as broader supply chains were also impacted 65% of the time.
The research indicates strengthening the security of IT systems is crucial to combatting cyberattacks on critical infrastructure and manufacturing facilities. More than 80% of the OT/ICS incidents analyzed started with an IT system compromise, attributed to increasing interconnectivity across IT and OT systems and applications. The IT network enables communication between OT networks and the outside world and acts as an entryway for OT threat actors. Deploying proper network architecture is critical to strengthening an organization’s cybersecurity defenses. It is no longer enough to simply implement a firewall between IT and OT environments. Because networks and devices are connected daily into OT/ICS environments, this exposes equipment in most industrial environments to sophisticated adversaries. Having a strong, modern OT/ICS security program must be a part of every industrial organization’s responsibility to maintain safe, secure operations and availability.
For this report, Rockwell Automation commissioned the Cyentia Institute to analyze data from 122 cybersecurity events across the globe, which occurred from 1982-2022. The Cyentia Institute’s team collected and analyzed nearly 100 data points surrounding individual incidents involving the direct compromise or disruption of OT/ICS systems. The resulting report was developed to share instructive insights about actual OT/ICS cybersecurity attack activity.
The Cyentia Institute is a research and data science firm dedicated to the mission of advancing knowledge in the cybersecurity industry. We accomplish this by partnering with a variety of organizations to perform comprehensive data analysis and publish high-quality, data-driven research.
Companies are trying several different strategies to assemble a coalition or collaboration in pursuit of building market momentum. Many of these niche software categories are interesting. My wonder is whether the end game is the typical one among technology startups these day—eventual acquisition. Sometimes these work out and sometimes they don’t. But Zededa (I don’t like the all caps marketing ploy) does have some interesting technology. Here is its latest strategy.
- Zededa Certified Edge Computing Associate (ZCEA) is a free, vendor-agnostic certification providing fundamental knowledge of the benefits and solutions of edge computing
- ZECA is the latest addition to the Zededa Certification Program and part of Zededa Edge Academy, the industry’s first online educational hub
- Edge computing is expected to be a cornerstone of ongoing digital transformation projects within all types of organizations
The Zededa Certified Edge Computing Associate (ZCEA) certification is available to anyone interested in learning more about the fundamentals of the edge computing industry. The course is free and vendor-agnostic, and the certificate can be shared on resumes, online profiles and job boards.
“As a leader in the industry, ZEDEDA is well-positioned to educate people in the value, challenges, and key industries poised to benefit,” said Kevin Freitas, Senior Director, Learning and Edge Academy. “We’re excited to launch this new certification to share edge computing essential knowledge as this aligns perfectly with our commitment to being leaders in the Edge Management and Orchestration market.”
Pay-As-You-Go Solution Provides a Simpler Way to Leverage More Cloud Capabilities
Inductive Automation recently moved its flagship Ignition software to the cloud. Now it’s available on the Microsoft Azure Marketplace on a pay-as-you-go plan.
Ignition Cloud Edition works together with the standard Ignition platform and Ignition Edge, creating a fully integrated and scalable system that connects people, processes, and programs for true digital transformation.
“Ignition Cloud Edition on Azure combines the vast power of the Ignition platform with Azure’s extensive cloud computing services. Adding this listing to Azure’s marketplace provides an additional avenue for access, bringing additional flexibility to architectures and opening up even more possibilities for innovation,” says Kevin McClusky, Chief Technology Architect, Inductive Automation.
Ignition Cloud Edition comes packaged with Ignition Core Modules: Perspective, Reporting, SQL Bridge, OPC UA, Enterprise Administration Module (EAM), Tag Historian, and Alarm Notification. It also includes the Web Development, Twilio Notification, and Voice Notification modules, as well as the MQTT Engine, MQTT Distributor, MQTT Transmission modules from Cirrus Link Solutions. A cloud connector module called the MongoDB Module is also included, and Cloud Edition users will get new cloud connector modules as they become available.
Ignition Cloud Edition’s pay-as-you-go purchasing model opens up budget options, allowing companies to use part of their operating expenditure budget allotted for cloud services instead of capital expenditures. It is important to note that Cloud Edition is not SaaS, and users are responsible for configuration, backup, and upgrades of the software. Cloud Edition is backed by TotalCare Support, which includes unlimited phone and web support, upgrade protection, discounts on training courses, and more.
What can we say? It’s still all about data—collect, analyze, present, use.
Seeq Corporation, a leader in advanced analytics for manufacturing, announced a partnership with Databricks, the data and AI company, that brings a native integration between each company’s platform to simplify access to high quality asset and process data, unify IT and OT data processing, and accelerate AI/ML adoption across the industrial manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, and energy sectors.
This bi-directional integration enables users to seamlessly combine contextualized time series data from industrial assets with a vast array of enterprise data sources to deliver more robust reporting, analytics, and predictions in their business. Databricks customers can now take advantage of Seeq’s extensive connectivity to time series data sources and power a wide range of analytical use cases across the enterprise. Insights developed in Databricks Lakehouse Platform can be operationalized in Seeq, introducing new opportunities for process experts and data teams to deliver data-driven solutions to increase industrial productivity, improve operational reliability, enhance safety, and accelerate progress towards sustainability goals.
For petrochemical manufacturer Chevron Phillips Chemical Company, the Seeq and Databricks integration accelerated the company’s ability to scale data science and machine learning efforts across multiple digital initiatives involving process and laboratory data.
Brent Railey, Chief Data & Analytics Officer of Chevron Phillips Chemical Company comments, “We are very excited about this partnership, as it will be mutually beneficial for Databricks, Seeq, and their shared customers. Seeq brings key time-series functionality that just isn’t available in other solutions. Seeq also simplifies the complexities of connecting to various types of process data sources. Databricks brings scalable, elastic data engineering and data science capabilities at an affordable price. Seeq can bring data to Databricks for complementary analytic purposes within Databricks. Databricks can serve cleansed and refined IIoT data to Seeq for self-service analytics. This partnership should make this one-two punch even more powerful!”
“Our collaboration with Seeq unlocks tremendous value for customers, making it simpler for organizations to operationalize and democratize IoT datasets by leveraging the open and secure foundation of the Databricks Lakehouse Platform. This significantly lowers the barrier to data-driven innovation in the industry,” says Shiv Trisal, Global Manufacturing Industry Leader at Databricks.
“The Seeq and Databricks integration is a critical step toward bridging the communication gap between operations technology and information technology personnel, which will drive increased machine learning value across the enterprise,” says Megan Buntain, VP of Global Partnerships and Ecosystem at Seeq. “We’re thrilled to add Databricks to the Seeq partner ecosystem and look forward to continuing to innovate with their team to improve outcomes for manufacturers.”
Honeywell engineers have been busy with a variety of sustainability technology applications. Beyond what I’ve written previously here is another initiative.
Honeywell announced an expansion to its Honeywell Forge Sustainability+ for Industrials | Emissions Management software application that allows industrial companies to measure and monitor both direct and indirect greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of their operations.
The software application can collect data from Honeywell’s leading sensors and gas-cloud imaging cameras to measure direct GHG emissions, also known as Scope 1 emissions. The new capability aggregates data from additional sources to measure indirect GHG emissions from the purchase of energy, known as Scope 2 emissions.
Despite global efforts in decarbonizing the power sector, electricity and heat generation are responsible for over 40% of global CO2 emissions, one of the main types of greenhouse gas. Measuring, calculating and accounting emissions are key steps to abate emissions and are incentivized by the recently enacted Inflation Reduction Act in the U.S. GHG emissions are also regulated around the world.
“Honeywell’s newly expanded solution provides customers with a more comprehensive view of their emissions and a critical tool toward meeting their sustainability goals,” said Ravikrishnan Srinivasan, vice president and general manager of Emissions Management at Honeywell Connected Enterprise. “Honeywell is uniquely positioned with its ready-now technology and experience to be the transformational partner that helps organizations accelerate their progress in achieving sustainability outcomes.”