Security an Ongoing Education Process

Thursday, November 4, 2010 @ 01:11 PM gHale

By Gregory Hale
You would think defining the word security would be fairly easy, but not these days.
“It really depends on who is doing the talking,” Doug Wylie, business development manager, Networks & Security Networks Business Group at Rockwell, said Thursday at Rockwell Automation’s Automation Fair in Orlando, FL. “We have to define what that word (security) means to the user.”
“For machine builders, the growing trend is to utilize IT infrastructure capability and work remotely to service machinery. While on the enterprise level they want to segregate users and have levels of access.”
At the end of the day, though, Wylie said everything has to remain secure and it is everybody’s responsibility to keep the process up and running.
“Every customer has something to lose. Every customer has something to protect,” he said. “Everybody has the responsibility to educate others on security.”
The catch, though, is having workers understand the importance of security and working on it every day.
“People are not thinking about how the world has changed around them,” Wylie said. “They have come into work every day and have done the same thing for the past 10 years.” So, security is not top of mind.
Stuxnet, however, changed some of that mindset. “Stuxnet has already accelerated customer behavior,” he said. “It was a defining moment and I am sure we will have many more defining moments in the future.”
In the future, Wylie sees a stronger IT element working on the plant floor. “When you start talking Ethernet on the factory floor, that means IT is looking into the control environment.”
While IT looks at one side of the equation, plant floor engineers look at the number one factor being uptime. But with younger engineers, with a healthy dose of IT background, hitting the plant floor the schism that had existed between the two areas seems to be disappearing. “We are starting to see the newcomers saying IT knows what they are talking about; they are the experts,” Wylie said. “It is a reality, younger people understand IT.”

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