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OEMs Show Proactive and Flexible Approaches are Key to Security

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One in five manufacturers says it has experienced intellectual property losses due to security breaches.

That's a staggering statistic, but it's also the age in which we live. After all, cybercrime hits the global economy to the tune of an estimated $400 billion per year.

Fortunately for manufacturers, OEMs around the world are working hard to enhance their own cybersecurity and protect end users against potentially devastating cyber attacks.

Here are three key learnings from a sampling of OEMs and their security approaches.

Remote Access and Security Go Hand-in-Hand

Remote access enables OEMs to quickly respond to end users' critical situations or provide ongoing maintenance support without the travel costs. But remote access is only viable if the connection is secure and customers have peace of mind that their data is safe.

Loccioni, an Italy-based producer of measurement, testing and assembly equipment, is helping manufacturers balance the benefits of remote access with its security demands.

“Remote access is more and more subject to strict customer control,” said Gianluca Battistoni, key account manager for Loccioni. “We have to interface with the customer's security infrastructure. Five years ago, we could have stored our preferred system on the machine. Now, the customer controls access more.”

Better Proactive Than Reactive

Quebec-based Wulftec International Inc., a producer of stretch wrappers and pallet machines for food and beverage, pharmaceutical and other industries, is among the companies that joined the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) program. The public-private partnership program is voluntary for businesses seeking to strengthen their international supply chains.

“We chose to take an active role in helping protect our customers' sensitive information,” said Priscille Tremblay, sales director for Wulftec International. “Becoming a C-TPAT partner assures our customers and the authorities that we are a secure company, and that our employees and vendors are secure.”

Wulftec International also maintains a database of machine serial numbers, allowing the company to track any changes made to a machine during its warranty period.

Security Equals Safety

Equipment security and reliability is especially important in the mining industry. Cyberattacks that affect the equipment can jeopardize lives.

“Applications are safety critical, particularly in deep-shaft mining for coal, copper, uranium, gold and silver, because you are bringing possibly 50 to 60 metric tons of material up from a mile deep,” said Vladislav Hermann, president of HSP Inc. and U.S. representative for INCO Engineering, a producer of transport equipment for underground mines. “People and materials being transported must absolutely be kept safe.”

To help keep such underground operations safe, INCO Engineering developed a remote-monitoring system that allows its service experts to monitor customers' equipment from a central facility in the Czech Republic, where the company is based. INCO Engineering service engineers can view real-time machine data and alert local service personnel if they see any abnormalities or critical status information.

Keeping Pace With Threats

Given that the threat landscape is constantly evolving, these global OEM examples serve as valuable reminders that aggressive and flexible approaches to fighting cyber threats are perhaps the best way to protect both OEM and manufacturers' critical data.

For more on the steps OEMs are taking to help protect customers' data in the fight against cybercrime, check out the latest issue of Security Matters

Tony Baker
Tony Baker
Product Manager-Network Security, Rockwell Automation
Tony Baker

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