Invensys: Security ‘Imperative’

Wednesday, October 10, 2012 @ 06:10 PM gHale

By Gregory Hale
There is no getting around it, cyber security is a technology trend companies have to look at now and in the future.

“Cyber security will be of tremendous importance for us,” said Invensys Software Business President Ravi Gopinath Wednesday at the Invensys Operations Management User Group Series in Anaheim, CA. “Cyber security will be front and center with our solutions.”

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While they talked about other initiatives going on throughout the Invensys Operations Management software business, like most things, it often came back to a security discussion.

After going through three industrial areas like Batch process, Heavy industries, like oil and gas, chemicals and Infrastructure areas like water and wastewater, Gopinath mentioned security as being one of the top technology trends.

“I am definitely seeing an increasing trend as security as a topic that is getting senior management attention,” Gopinath said in an interview after his keynote address. “There are instances where they have actually experienced incidents of cyber security at any level it tends to get front and center pretty fast. The fact there is so much being written about it certainly gathers their attention.”

Part of the reason for the growing cyber security issue stems from the growth toward open systems away from the old style closed proprietary systems.

“If you look at the historical configuration of manufacturing systems, whether it is hardware or software, one of the characteristics of those systems is they used to be very closed and that created a defense system naturally,” Gopinath said. “We all know connections and the ability to integrate not just the diversity of systems in the enterprise but across value chains and into the business to business exchange of information has forced systems to open up. And that becomes a very important driver to address. The more you open up systems the more prone you are to risk. It is critical we are proactive at looking at addressing it.”

One way to address it, Gopinath said is to build security into how they design and develop products. “That is absolutely critical. It is a very strong emphasis we have on the development cycle. While we build security in up front in the process make sure we can close the loop before it goes out into the field.”

The days of security through obscurity are over and more end users need to start employing security programs and making sure everyone is on the same page.

“Security is necessary, it is not a matter of choice,” Gopinath said. “It is just like safety, talk about quality in the food industry, talk about regulations and compliance, those aren’t choices any more, those are imperatives. Depending on the application, security becomes an imperative.”

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