Belden: Major Role of Security

Tuesday, September 23, 2014 @ 10:09 AM gHale

By Gregory Hale
There is no doubt security will play a major role in the manufacturing automation industry now and into the future.

If you don’t believe that, just ask John Stroup, president and chief executive at Belden Inc.

“Security is increasingly important; it is something we will have to live with for a long time,” said Stroup during his keynote address entitled “The Inter-connected World” at the 2014 Industrial Ethernet Infrastructure Design Seminar in Houston, TX, Monday. “The connected world creates a lot more risk.”

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Yes, manufacturers have more awareness on the top security issues, they can’t help it. All they have to do is look at attacks like Stuxnet or Havex, or the latest headlines featuring Target and Home Depot, to name just a few. But while awareness is growing, the idea of taking the next step to enact a security program for quite a few companies remains daunting.

“Security is one of the top three things being discussed in board rooms,” Stroup said. “It is absolutely the thing senior executives are talking about. But they don’t know what to do. They don’t have a framework.”

Stroup talked about a meeting he and his company had with former CIA Director Michael Hayden and when asked if it would take a major incident to force more companies to embark on a security program, Stroup said the Director “said there would not be a major incident, but a 1,000 little paper cuts.”

Stroup also discussed Belden’s year-old partnership with enterprise security provider, Tripwire. While Belden is well known within the manufacturing sector and Tripwire has a solid reputation in the enterprise, Stroup said it only makes sense they partner in an effort to expand into each space.

“The Tripwire partnership is something where we can make progress; they know the enterprise.”

While Stroup did say security is one of the major areas of coverage for Belden moving forward, he also discussed other areas where the company is seeing growth and potential.

One of the areas that plays into Belden’s strength in the wiring and cabling area is in the broadcast industry.

“Broadcast is in the same spot automation was 15 years ago,” Stroup said. Systems right now are proprietary, but broadcasters are seeing the potential for open systems and what that could bring and how that could add to the bottom line. That means reliability becomes even more important.

“Reliability on the broadcast side means lost revenues,” he said. “Disruption is a huge issue.”

He also said manufacturing is seeing a great transformation. He pointed that out by giving some facts and figures.

By 2015 there were over 16 billion connected devices, however, by 2020 there will be more than 50 billion, he said. That will make 7 devices for every human on the planet. “That is an explosion happening right before us,” he said.

In addition, 90 percent of consumer traffic will be video by 2017. It costs $5,600 per minute for data center downtime. And 70 percent of operators will end up replaced by automation.

However, when looking at manufacturing automation, there are five key areas to look at:
1. Return on assets
2. Safety
3. Quality
4. Cost
5. Delivery/logistics

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