by Gary Mintchell | Jan 25, 2023 | Automation, Manufacturing IT, Security
Mindful people are marked by curiosity. At least, that is one characteristic. I don’t know about being mindful, but I embody a healthy dose of curiosity. A press release came my way from a company I had never heard of touting a process I also had never heard of—range. So, I had to investigate. In addition to the Web (yes, you can still do research by searching on the Web, but thanks to Google, it’s not as easy or as fruitful as it used to be), I also talked with Debbie Gordon, CEO of Cloud Range.
This technology solution relates to cybersecurity. Specifically, these solutions provide training for varieties of personnel regarding identifying and thwarting cyber attacks. The “range” term is known in the IT world. Cloud Range, Gordon told me, is the first company to take the concept, develop it specifically for the operations environment, and use it to train operators, engineers, manufacturing IT, and any others who may be involved.
Gordon used the metaphor of a flight simulator. It’s better for a pilot to train on abnormal situations in a device that isn’t going to crash and kill everyone on board. The problem for operations people lies in the fact that they may have never experienced a cyber attack. They may treat it as just another alarm that can often be ignored.
Cloud range also understands that while IT’s concern is data, OT’s concern is uptime. This requires an entirely new look at how to train and solve the problem.
On to the news:
Cloud Range introduced Cloud Range for Critical Infrastructure—the first-of-its-kind full-service, live-fire simulation training specifically designed to proactively train and prepare incident responders (IR) and security operations (SOC) teams in operational technology (OT) and information technology (IT) environments to defend against cyber attacks to critical infrastructure.
The digital convergence of OT and IT in critical infrastructure sectors has increased the focus of cyber attacks against OT and industrial control system (ICS) environments. This has accelerated the need for cyber defense teams to understand, train, and prepare to protect these assets. However, OT and IT environments can have very disparate objectives, setups, and risks. OT security requires different protocols, analysis, forensics, and other security methods than traditional IT security networks. That’s why OT/ICS security teams require unique training to ensure they can overcome the threats and challenges they face.
Cloud Range for Critical Infrastructure is the industry’s first and only full-service OT/ICS/IoT cyber range simulation training environment with dynamic, live-fire OT/ICS, OT/IoT, and IT/OT incident response and security operations exercises. The customizable OT environments include unlimited network scenarios to simulate any organization’s OT/IT network and emulate any industrial sector, including energy, nuclear, transportation, communications, water systems, buildings/facilities, and more. The new OT solution not only strengthens the resilience of security teams, but also improves operational efficiency by providing a collaborative environment for IT/OT teams to work and train together and remove the complexity and friction between them that is common in most organizations.
The product is a program with a taskmaster where personnel set aside a training time of around four hours to participate in the simulation.
Cloud Range for Critical Infrastructure mimics potential real-life cyber attacks and enables cyber defenders to see and understand an attack before it actually happens, preparing them to be ready to defend. Attack scenarios are mapped to the MITRE ATT&CK Framework for Industrial Control Systems (ICS) so teams can understand the specific tactics taken by adversaries. The immersive, live-fire cyber range environment gives OT IR and ICS security teams the needed expertise, judgment, skills, and muscle memory required to be ready when a real attack occurs.
Cloud Range training missions are led by expert attackmasters providing teams with real-time guidance. Additionally, security leaders receive performance metrics and analysis with prescribed training plans based on the results of an exercise.
Learn more about OT cyberattack simulation training by watching the webinar, “Conquer OT Attacks in an IT-focused World” featuring Debbie Gordon, founder and CEO of Cloud Range; Bryan Singer, Principal Director, Global OT Incident Response Lead at Accenture; Mark Cristiano, Global Commercial Director – Cyber Security Services at Rockwell Automation; and Lucian Niemeyer, CEO of Building Cyber Security.
by Gary Mintchell | Jan 13, 2023 | Edge, Manufacturing IT, Operations Management, Process Control
ZEDEDA provides network edge management and orchestration for industrial applications. It has been reaching out to large automation companies for partnerships or collaboration. Its solution integrates with Emerson’s DeltaV automation system. It announced in mid-December 2022 that Emerson Ventures, the corporate venture capital arm of Emerson, has made a strategic investment.
Emerson’s solution integrates ZEDEDA’s edge management and orchestration offer into its DeltaV automation system, enabling Emerson customers to extend DeltaV to the distributed edge. This expansion will deliver enhanced OT solutions while also continuing into the IT environment, providing software-defined automation and revolutionizing how customers can deploy and connect workloads within their distributed environments.
by Gary Mintchell | Dec 29, 2022 | Edge, Internet of Things, Manufacturing IT, Operations Management
This announcement relates more to IT than operations. ZEDEDA has established a spot in a technology called edge orchestration. As edge compute has become a hot thing finding ways to manage and orchestrate edge devices assumes importance.
This release concerns building automation, but the technology is more broadly applicable. ZEDEDA has delivered a scalable edge solution for Switch Automation, a global technology company for digitizing and decarbonizing buildings, enabling the company to provide innovative edge solutions for digital buildings.
Switch’s comprehensive smart building platform integrates with traditional building systems and Internet of Things (IoT) technologies to analyze, automate and control assets in real time. During early deployments and without a fully formed management tool, Switch ran into scalability issues for hundreds of appliances.
ZEDEDA provided solutions and technical expertise for managing Switch’s edge devices – including the OS, the edge apps, and the network — and delivered a completely stable network device to allow Switch to achieve best-in-class uptime and a more robust support infrastructure.
Since leveraging ZEDEDA, Switch has reduced its overall maintenance hours typically consumed by OS and general software upgrades. That reduced downtime has translated into a more cost-effective operational management across all of its appliances.
by Gary Mintchell | Dec 28, 2022 | Data Management, Manufacturing IT, Operations Management
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Inductive Automation’s Jennifer Faylor wrote on the company’s blog some thoughts from last fall’s Community Conference about digital transformation tips. She notes that digital transformation is “unignorable”. Yep. Even I write about it, even though I think that it’s something that began many years ago and will continue indefinitely.
Despite the abundance of companies forging ahead with plans to digitally transform, there are some that remain a little lost in the weeds. And for those that are already navigating Digital Transformation adeptly, staying on the cutting edge of best practices is indispensable, to ensure you continue to create top-notch solutions.
Following is her compilation of tips.
1. Think Big, Start Small, and Act Fast
“When you start thinking about Digital Transformation, think big, start small, and act fast. … And the big one, I think, most people overlook is actually the acting fast. They get too caught up, or they think about this as a traditional, large, single-entity monolithic project or initiative, instead of a whole bunch of small, iterative, flexible, agile approaches to transforming the company.” – Jeff Winter, Industry Executive for Manufacturing with Microsoft
2. Prepare for Expanding Scopes
“A lot of times with these types of projects, as they expand, as the interest in it grows, the scope of the project grows. So really [it’s important] to define what our core objective is that we want to accomplish, once we meet that objective, add on additional features to it. Sometimes it seems like with these projects, they can balloon almost too quickly. If we can keep it focused on a couple of specific objectives and meet those, then we can take that and build upon it.” – Nate Kay, Engineering Manager at MartinCSI
3. Show How Easy It Can Be
“I think a big thing for Digital Transformation is oftentime clients are very shocked by how easy it is to implement some of the Digital Transformation concepts … and I think we need to continue to push customers to do things like proof of concepts, or really just see a demo for what their system could be. I personally think that the SQL Bridge Module is the most powerful tool, and that customers have been using bad tools for so long that they just don’t realize how simple it can be to capture data and do things like eliminate that manual report that they’ve been filling out for 15 years.” – Elizabeth Hill Reed, Project Engineer, DMC, Inc.
4. Flip the Process From “Push” to “Pull”
“As soon as you do the first line and you prove the data is real regardless of what the preconceived notions are of what the data should be, you turn from a push process, where ‘We’re from central office and we’re here to help,’ to a pull process, ‘I have a problem with another line, can you guys do what you did on that line over on this line?’ So as soon as that coin flips, you’re golden.” – Dan Stauft, Director of Operational Technology, SugarCreek
5. Follow the “4 Rights”
“[Get] the right data to the right people in the right place at the right time.” – Steve Chapman, Partner, Barry-Wehmiller Design Group
6. Embrace Your Role as an Educator
“As an integrator you’re also an educator, in terms of especially today in the space where you do have IT, OT … those are two different levels that for years hadn’t really talked to one another and don’t really know each other’s world. And so now they’re being forced to communicate with each other, and we’ve got to try to help educate them on what’s important to each other and why.” – Mike Ficchi, Senior Controls Engineer, Multi-Dimensional Integration (MDI)
7. Empower People on the Ground
“And the idea is, is that if you work with people on the ground rather than just [sending them] a memo, to say that we’re going to be putting in this system, speak with the people first, get their opinion, and ask them for input because now you’ve empowered them, now they’re part of that solution, and they feel like this solution is going to help them produce better, not this is just going to be some measuring stick as an excuse to get rid of people.” – Craig Resnick, Vice President, Consulting, ARC Advisory Group
8. Add Extra Value to Everything You Do
“For everything you do, give a little bit of value-added. Something new, something that they haven’t thought of, but something that’s going to give them information that they didn’t have before, or control of something, or view of something, or some new data that you’ve merged two bits of information to produce new data, data that they didn’t have before. And they will love that.” – Chris Taylor, Managing Director, BIJC Ltd
9. Remember: It’s a Journey, Not a Destination
“This process is a journey and not a destination. If you can help everyone involved understand that … ‘This is new, and you know what we’re going to celebrate the wins, we’re going to get better from the losses,’ because both of those things will happen on a journey. You have the highs, you have the lows, but if we all understand, ‘Hey, we’re marching towards this common end goal,’ setting those mental parameters is extremely beneficial when we’re trying to attempt and create really any kind of change, not just Digital Transformation.” – Reese Tyson, Ignition Team Lead, Flexware Innovation
10. Accept That the Solution is “Becoming”
“One very important lesson that we learned last year and have discussed a lot internally is that any solution is never really done. It continues to develop in different directions as new business needs arise with the clients, and we’ve learned the hard way that we have to stop talking about the delivery and instead accept that it’s only a delivery, one of many. And somewhere along the road, we realized that there’s a term for this, it’s the thinker Kevin Kelly who actually coined this, ‘becoming.’ So, things are just becoming, the solution is becoming, it’s never ending as such, it’s just becoming.” – Jan Madsen, Founder, Enuda AB
by Gary Mintchell | Dec 27, 2022 | Commentary, Events, Manufacturing IT, News, Operations Management
Knud Lasse Lueth, founder and leader of the firm IOT Analytics in Germany, wrote a comprehensive report on trends picked up at the SPS fair in Nuremberg in November. Note: I have an affiliation with the analyst firm as an advisor. I recommend visiting the web site to check out the full report.
Smart Production Solutions (or SPS), one of the leading industrial automation fairs, was back in action earlier this month. The event that took place from 8 November –10 November 2022 in Nürnberg, Germany, showcased once again the latest industrial automation developments. Despite a smaller crowd (44,000 visitors—roughly 30% less than pre-pandemic), the fairgrounds were buzzing and filled with senior executives from many leading industrial automation companies, software providers, and related companies. The conference remains a key show for industrial automation hardware and (increasingly) software. It is perhaps the most important fair for some European (especially German) industrial automation companies, such as Siemens, Beckhoff, or Phoenix Contact.
IoT Analytics had a team of three analysts on the ground. They visited approximately 75 booths and conducted over 50 individual interviews to get a handle on the latest industrial automation trends with a special focus on IT/OT convergence.
The main reason we are seeing interest and movement toward the convergence of IT and OT in the manufacturing space is because of IT technologies’ promise to significantly improve manufacturing. The market dynamics of an increasingly competitive world have “forced” OT, a traditionally less hi-tech sector, to consider these IT technologies. As a first step, IT/OT convergence can happen by creating the necessary (secure) interfaces between IT and OT systems.
10 IT/OT convergence trends visible at SPS 2022
1. IT-based containerization technology at the edge
2. Integration of IT and OT tools
3. Cloud-native (IT) tools for improved manufacturing operations
4. IT programming tools and languages for controllers
5. Virtual PLCs—containerized controllers
6. Digital twins to virtualize physical assets
7. Low-code tools
8. MQTT protocol connecting OT and IT
9. IT cybersecurity models for OT
10. IT approach for industrial software quality control
On another note: The team would like to give a shoutout to Schneider Electric for being one of the few companies at the fair that embraced sustainability by leading with a carbon-neutral booth completely made from recyclable materials (such as walls made of reusable wooden pallets).
by Gary Mintchell | Dec 19, 2022 | Cloud, Data Management, Events, Manufacturing IT, News, Operations Management
I had committed to a couple of events when the invitation to attend the AVEVA conference in San Francisco in November came my way. Many of my colleagues went out there thinking they had better opportunities to sell advertising than the alternative. Subsequently I received two announcements from the event. Both relate to data.
- Constellation Energy chooses AVEVA solution to enable easier, faster, cheaper data analytics
- Vision for connected industrial ecosystems revealed at AVEVA World in San Francisco
Weird thing to me is how marketing over the past few years regards data as something new. Way back in 1976 while working for a manufacturing company, I was moved from a position in operations to one in product development with the principle role as sort of “data czar.” I learned as far back as then about how crucial it was to have verified data in a form usable by all areas of the corporation. I was sort of at the nerve center for a few years.
We just have technologies for compiling, storing, verifying, and visualizing data that I couldn’t even dream about back then.
Constellation Energy for data analytics
AVEVA announced a partnership with Constellation Energy, provider of carbon-free energy, to give third-party analytic vendors secure access to select real-time data from Constellation’s operations.
Constellation will implement the latest release of AVEVA Data Hub, a cloud-based data management SaaS solution, which will help the company accelerate collaboration with trusted analytic partners and implement learnings more quickly, increasing the return on its analysis projects.
Currently, industrial operators, who are focused on data-driven solutions and decision-making, use a variety of methods to make real-time data available to internal and external teams. These methods are time-consuming to develop, maintain, coordinate, and some of them introduce security vulnerabilities that increase business risk. With IT staff in short supply, companies find themselves unable to respond quickly to new data requests or test out new solutions.
Constellation (formerly Exelon Energy), a long-time user of AVEVA PI System, decided to expand their data management solution into the cloud to easily share wind turbine data with a third-party analytics vendor. The company uses AVEVA PI System to collect, enrich, store, and manage sensor and time-series operations data in real-time. It then transfers that data natively to AVEVA Data Hub, a SaaS solution, where they can set up and manage select data sharing with authorized users, applications, and analytic tools both inside and outside the company. The new cloud-based addition to their data management solution is ready to use immediately; users can begin analyzing and processing data to achieve deeper insight in hours, rather than days or weeks.
Vision for connected industrial ecosystems
AVEVA showcases how industrial organizations are using real-time data to connect teams, empower them with data-led insights that speed up decision-making and unlock business value.
“We are witnessing the birth of an industrial universe that is completely connected, enabling a new kind of collaboration across colleagues, suppliers, partners, and customers,” said Peter Herweck, CEO at AVEVA.“Taking a data-centric approach empowers teams by connecting different players across the entire industrial ecosystem. This in turn transforms value chains into agile, profitable, sustainable networks. It is what we at AVEVA mean by the new, connected industrial economy.”
A recent survey, commissioned by AVEVA, of 650 senior international business executives across the chemicals, manufacturing, and power industries in North America, Europe, and the Middle East, found that 87% said they plan to increase their organization’s investment in industrial digital solutions over the next 12months.
Herweck added: “When you bring your data together and apply analytics so that you can visualize it in context, you unlock new ways of working. We are seeing leading companies like Shell and Worley breaking down data silos, building digital twins to deepen collaboration, drive transparency, and deliver actionable insights that enable their teams to work in a smarter and more connected way.”
AVEVA World has shown how leading companies such as Kellogg, Barry Callebaut, Pfizer, Dominion Energy, and Henn, starting to put in place the building blocks of these connected industrial ecosystems. As the adoption of cloud-based industrial software becomes more widespread, organizations will be able to engage experts within and beyond their enterprise to deliver on innovative capital projects, optimize the operations lifecycle, accelerate decision-making, and reach sustainability targets that drive responsible use of the world’s resources.