As more food and beverage industry operations become automated, security risks, such as data/recipe theft and hacker-caused plant shutdowns, are becoming headaches for engineers. Consequently, operators are always on the lookout for ways to bolster their network protection.

As industrial markets evolve to unlock the promise of the Internet of Things (IoT), Rockwell Automation and Cisco have addressed this need by adding to their Converged Plantwide Ethernet (CPwE) architectures to help operations technology (OT) and information technology (IT) professionals address constantly changing security practices.

“Security can’t be an afterthought in today’s plant environment. As we connect more devices and create more efficient ways of operating, we also create certain vulnerabilities,” says Bryan Tantzen, senior director, Cisco. “These new architectures and guides build on our collaboration by helping organizations recognize and proactively address today’s security concerns.”

According to Rockwell, the latest CPwE security expansions include design guidance and validated architectures to help build more secure plant networks and address security from a holistic perspective.

Both Rockwell and Cisco have created resources to help manufacturers efficiently deploy security solutions. These new guides are accompanied by white papers summarizing the key design principles, as follows:

-The Industrial Demilitarized Zone Design and Implementation Guide and white paper provide guidance 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 someone is trying to connect via wired or wireless access.

According to Rockwell, the IoT has elevated the need for highly flexible, secure connectivity between things, machines, workflows, databases and people, requiring 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 workflows for improved efficiencies and cost savings,” Rockwell says. “A securely connected environment also enables organizations to mitigate risk with policy compliance and protects intellectual property with secure sharing between global stakeholders.”

 The new architectures use industry standards to provide recommendations on how to share data more securely across an industrial demilitarized zone, as well as enforcing policies that control access to the plant-wide wired or wireless network. “The key to industrial network security is in how you design and implement your infrastructure and holistically address security for internal and external threats,” says Lee Lane, business director, Rockwell Automation.