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Mitigating Security Threats in Manufacturing with Cisco’s Connected Factory

Today’s manufacturing industry faces an aging industrial machinery infrastructure that presents huge security challenges poised for continued growth in the coming months and years. Increasingly, manufacturers are beginning to view data security as a top barrier to realizing the value of the Internet of Everything (IoE). In fact, the steady growth of the IoE is creating efficiencies and cost savings across the entire value chain, presenting a $3.9 trillion value opportunity for manufacturers. However, this exponential growth of connections and integration between people, processes, data, and things also presents added security risks and threats that are often complex and multifaceted.

Here are a few of the implications and impacts of security breaches for manufacturers:

  • Theft or Loss of proprietary or confidential information and intellectual property
  • Downtime in factories and lost productivity – potentially very severe
  • Violation of regulatory requirements
  • Loss of public confidence and brand
  • Economic loss
  • Impact on national security

According to Symantec, the manufacturing business sector was the most targeted in 2013, accounting for 24% of all targeted attacks. Of those attacks, industrial networks topped the list of systems most vulnerable to cybersecurity issues. Additionally, the number of attacks on industrial supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems doubled from 2013 to 2014. Unfortunately for manufacturers, 91% of breaches took just hours or less to perpetrate, yet more than 60% of attacks took months – or even years – to detect. This considerable gap gives cyber attackers plenty of opportunities to access a manufacturer’s trade secrets and sensitive production data.

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Securing the Internet of Things: A Proposed Framework

By 2020, the number of connected devices is expected to grow exponentially to 50 billion. The world of interconnected objects will have it’s data collected, analyzed and used to initiate action, which will provide a wealth of intelligence for planning, management, policy and decision-making.

Man on Mobile Device

Important information will be pushed out to machines, to individuals, and to Read More »

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Internet of Everything and Machine Intelligence

Let’s start on a light note. For a brief period of time, the Internet of Things became associated with the fridge that orders milk by itself. This retro-futurist icon is a great example of a common tendency for extremely disruptive technological waves to first enter the public realm in the form of low impact nice-to-have use cases (personal computers and robotics suffered the same fate at first). Besides being amusing, these are also instructive. The small-mindedness of a fridge that has a direct line to the supermarket is a great way to make a really important point: the value of the Internet of Everything (IoE), ultimately, is about the network, not the individual connections. Read More »

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Internet of Things (IoT) and our future

As an Information Technology professional I believe that IT is changing and will keep changing the way we live and of course our future. IoT (Internet of Things) has been a major topic of discussion, especially in 2014.

Everyone predicts that in the near future almost everything will be connected to the Internet, and will have its own IP address.  Connectivity not only includes PCs, laptops, tablets and smartphone, but coffee machines, refrigerators, TVs, washing machines, microwaves ovens, cookers, closets, etc…

I am afraid that one day the refrigerator will refuse to open because it reads my mind about wanting chocolates, and finds that I am overweight. The next day my car will not drive me home, but to the local gym after checking my schedule and finding some free time. Then it will kick me out saying, “Go do some exercises, your extra weight consumes more fuel, and my chassis will not endure until next summer!” Thank goodness it’s just a dream right now. I don’t even own a car, and will never think about buying a smart internet connected refrigerator, simply because it’s very expensive. :)

In this article I will share my thoughts and raise questions about four main factors related to IoT’s future: Read More »

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2015 Manufacturing Industry Predictions

What’s new and trending for the industry? Well, predictions for the upcoming year as a motif is certainly not new but is definitely trending, considering the deluge of pundits concentrating their well-informed thoughts about which industry happenings will emerge through hyperbole and into reality. Amongst go-to industry resources I find myself perusing is LNS Research, who has chosen to break down their Top Three 2015 predictions by industry trend/topic: Industrial IoT; Industrial Energy Management; Environmental Health and Safety; and Asset Performance Management.

Another annual favorite that I’ve blogged about in the past—including commentary on Cisco relevance—is IDC Manufacturing Insights, who this year took on a refreshing, new format entitled IDC Futurescape: Worldwide Manufacturing 2015 Predictions. The team of IDC manufacturing practice analysts quantify and qualify their ten most critical imperatives to be addressed by global manufacturers in 2015 and beyond—based on the coalescence of technology and line of business interests—including a few that are very pertinent to Cisco’s Internet of Everything (IoE) initiatives:

  • In 2015, customer centricity requires higher standards for customer service excellence, efficient innovation, and responsive manufacturing, which motivates 75% of manufacturers to invest in customer-facing technologies.
  • By 2016, 70% of global discrete manufacturers will offer connected products, driving increased software content and the need for systems engineering and a product innovation platform.
  • By 2018, 40% of Top 100 discrete manufacturers and 20% of Top 100 process manufacturers will provide Product-as-a-Service platforms.
  • In 2015, 65% of companies with more than 10 plants will enable the factory floor to make better decisions through investments in operational intelligence.

Before the analyst predictions pushed their way onto my laptop screen, I was asked by Cisco’s press relations team to put forward my top 3 for the industry. So on All Saints Day, before heading out on weeks of travel to China, India, and several of the United States outside my home residence, I produced three ideas that didn’t make it to our PR megaphone. As part of this blog, I’ve decided to share these three predictions, with some relevant observations from my Nov-Dec travels and customer interactions …

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