Comprehensive protection for production plants

With the increase in automation system networking as well as “Industry 4.0” requirements, companies in the manufacturing and process sector and the companies who make the plant and equipment in use frequently face new IT security challenges. Networking and high-level communication between IT systems are quickly finding their way into production processes. Given these connections, existing plant increasingly needs to be integrated directly into management systems.

This is based on the Industrial Ethernet. PROFINET, Ethernet/IP or EtherCAT are being deployed for this purpose, along with modifications and upgrades for controlling and automating plant. On the one hand this makes production completely transparent and, on the other, this also means that all the systems are linked to a network. Strictly separated networks for data sharing no longer have any place in production plant.

Connected productions plants offer many advantages — but also involves many risks

So the assumption that production plant is not connected to the Internet is no longer true. Connecting production plant and its control units to the office IT or via the Internet not only offers companies benefits through manufacturing being continually optimised and made more flexible — it involves many risks, too. So efficiently protecting production plant against cyberattacks, internal manipulation and faulty configurations is a growing challenge.

Exploiting opportunities

40 percent of global value creation is now based on information and communication technology.

In the future, having secure, robust data infrastructures will play a key role in determining whether a location is competitive or not.

The German government’s measures intend to ensure that Germany is one of the world’s most digitally secure regions.

This can be achieved if the government, business, academia and the public all make a combined effort.

Minimising risk

German government: the cyber-security strategy and its ongoing implementation are creating a basis for ensuring high quality cyber-security.

Identify where action is required: Close collaboration between the government, academia and business.

International agreement: Ongoing discussions amongst the international community.

Legislation: For critical infrastructures, a minimum level of IT security needs to be laid down by law as a public service.

Identification and blocking of cyberattacks

IRMA® is an industrial computer system for identifying and blocking cyberattacks in production networks. IRMA® continuously monitors your production plant, provides information about cyberattacks, and enables analyses and intelligent alarm systems using a simple management console. In this way, immediate action can be taken to halt the attack or to effectively mitigate its effects.

This is also something which the German Federal Ministry for the Interior has laid down in the IT Security Act. Read more on this here.