Ganesh Nakhawa

-September 26, 2018

Manufacturing Secure Access for the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT)

In 2017, the manufacturing industry made the largest investment in the Internet of Things (IoT), pouring $183 billion into the technology (IDC). But that’s nothing compared to what the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) market is geared up to do. According to a new report by Grand View Research, Inc., the global industrial IoT market is expected to reach $933.62 billion by 2025.

Many of these connected devices in the manufacturing arena are programmable logic controls, or PLC devices. A manufacturing company may have dozens or even hundreds of PLCs in their secure network, protected behind a firewall.

That protection is good, but is it the best? Consider this scenario: an outside contractor or vendor needs to repair, maintain, or upgrade the software in a PLC. The contractor cannot log into the PLC system remotely to address the issue or solve the problem because the firewall prevents external access. The contractor must go physically onsite and connect to a secure computer, which then allows the access to the PLC that needs attention.

From an operational perspective, this takes time. Whereas your service level agreement (SLA) may specify swift 24/7 service, the need to have the contractor onsite may delay matters by several hours or even one or two days. This promptly turns into a financial loss since downtime at a manufacturing site can easily mount to hundreds of thousands and even millions of dollars.

Plus, such a situation requires that policies be manually configured for each contractor or vendor to specify which machines they should have access to and what roles they should be assigned, a time-consuming process to establish and maintain all while ensuring data integrity on a corporate network.

Pulse Secure provides Secure Access for IIoT to resolve these as well as other issues that plague the manufacturing IT environment. Secure Access for IIoT is a three-part solution:

  1. Auto-discovery. Pulse auto-discovers PLC devices in the network and automatically classifies those devices based on the manufacturer, e.g., GE, Schneider Electric, etc.

 

  1. Dynamic configuration. Any time a new device comes on the network, it is dynamically configured and provisioned according to established policies.

 

  1. Secure access. Through Pulse Policy Secure, contractors can connect remotely or locally either through Layer 2 or Layer 3 authentication. They are automatically assigned the appropriate role and access rights based on policy provisions, allowing them to address issues in real-time.

Solutions should be simple, effective, and minimize time while maximizing productivity. How does our three-part solution accomplish this? Auto-discovery to ensure that all devices are accounted for and visible at all times. Dynamic configuration to remove the burden of manual upkeep for complex provisions. Secure access to increase operational efficiencies and keep productivity at a maximum. Without a doubt, Secure Access for IIoT benefits the end-to-end manufacturing operation, the contractors who service manufacturing companies, the customers who rely on manufacturers for the goods that are produced, and the booming IoT market that’s heading our way. Learn more at pulsesecure.net.

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