Rockwell, Cisco in DPI Pact

Monday, April 25, 2016 @ 06:04 PM gHale


Rockwell Automation and Cisco inked a partnership pact at the Hanover Fair in Hanover, Germany today to develop deep packet inspection (DPI) technology for industrial security appliances.

With the growth of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), security remains a huge issue. Where the attack surface of system running today is big, add in the IIoT and it just escalates to the scale of the Internet.

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IT systems use firewalls to monitor security risks on the IT network, but they are not rigorous enough to understand industrial protocols used on the plant floor.

An industrial firewall with DPI technology extends visibility down to the plant floor, enables logging of traffic patterns, and provides the opportunity for informed decision-making following a set of security policies. Users can log a range of data for any network connection or protocol, such as EtherNet/IP, including where the traffic is coming from, where it is going and with which application it is associated. While IT managers previously had this visibility, now plant and IT managers can use this technology to more securely manage network traffic from the plant to the enterprise.

A plant-floor application using DPI technology has the ability to instruct a firewall to deny firmware downloads to a controller. This guards against tampering with firmware and helps protect the integrity of the operation. Only an authorized user would be able to conduct the download.

“Security on the plant floor continues to be a top concern for manufacturers and industrial operators as they build a Connected Enterprise,” said Juergen Weinhofer, vice president, common architecture and technology, Rockwell Automation. “DPI technology combines our unmatched automation and information control expertise with that of Cisco, the industry leader in IT security, to enhance security for new and existing industrial control systems.”

“With this security addition to our joint portfolio and architectures, we can help eliminate the ‘air gap’ or ‘security by obscurity’ that leads to false confidence of safety and security,” said Doug Bellin, global industries lead, Cisco. “We can track all network connections in real time and react when issues arise. This is another case of the best of IT and the best of operations coming together to solve a real need.”