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Security for the Digital Manufacturer: Recap of recent #CiscoChat

Earlier this week, I hosted a #CiscoChat along with other team members of the @CiscoMFG team including Nancy Cam-Winget (@ncamwingw), an industrial security expert and Distinguished Engineer at Cisco, along with cohost Gregory Wilcox (@gswilcox_ohio) of our strategic alliance partner Rockwell Automation (@ROKAutomation). We had a thought-provoking interchange on how new digital business models impact industrial security interests, as well as some of the other inherent security risks for manufacturers.

If you missed the chat, the full recap is here, and below, I summarize a few of the highlights and insights for me.

Why is security for manufacturers such a top-of-mind concern, discussed across engineering, production, supply chain and boardroom alike?

By 2020, there will be an estimated 50+ billion intelligent things connected to the Internet. The emergence of more “smart” connected factories, in which machines and devices Read More »

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Tesla Powerwall May Be a Game Changer for PV Energy Production, but Distribution Networking is Vital

During Elon Musk’s presentation of Tesla Powerwall, a battery system that lets you store energy to power your home, he shared a slide showing a small area of the Texas panhandle – with a small blue square representing the land area necessary to produce enough solar power to meet the entire electric power needs of the United States.

“...very little land is required to get rid of all fossil fuel electricity generation in the United States.”  Elon Musk

“…very little land is required to get rid of all fossil fuel electricity generation in the United States.” Elon Musk

As you might expect, this generated quite a bit of controversy about whether or not his assertion is even within the realm of possibility.

Does Musk’s claim pass the smell test? Read More »

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#CiscoChat: Industrial Security: Critical for Digital Manufacturing?

Cisco_Chat_Industrial  Security_TWITTER[1]

Manufacturing is undergoing radical advancements, much like the ones we’ve seen in healthcare and education, thanks to the Internet of Everything (IoE) and all of the people, data, processes and things it connects.

By 2020, it’s estimated that there will be 50 billion devices and objects connected to the Internet, including many of the devices in the manufacturing world. “Smart” factories where machines “talk” to one another, fleet vehicles such as trucks and forklifts with sensors that monitor their movements, and even wireless inventory tracking devices are all in play at manufacturers across the globe. Manufacturers are embracing a new generation of Machine-to-Machine (M2M) and Person-To-Machine (P2M) systems, as well as mobile applications and cloud-based services that drive efficiency and innovation across their value chain.

All of these connected “things” and processes allow manufacturers to Read More »

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Updating the Company that Updates the Home

whirlpool blog

As the world’s largest appliance maker, Whirlpool Corporation knows a thing or two about innovations. But the company recently looked at its factories’ mixed networking devices and realized that their backend infrastructure needed some innovating too. An unstable wireless network set-up was costing the company money, was difficult to troubleshoot and simply could not keep up with new technologies.

Whirlpool turned to Cisco and the appliance company’s service provider, Black Box Network Services, to come up with a plan to update their network architecture.

Beginning with five pilot sites—including one of Whirlpool’s largest plants—Cisco employed designs to modernize the network. The products included in the plans were:

  • Cisco Catalyst 3750X switch
  • Cisco Catalyst 2960X Series switches
  • Cisco FlexStack and StackWise cabling
  • Cisco Aironet 3600 Series Access Point with Cisco CleanAir technology
  • Cisco 5500 Series wireless controller

Read More »

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Cisco Secure Ops demonstrated at Cisco Live 2015

As I mentioned in my last blog: “Cisco Live Hosts Enhanced Cisco Collaborative Operations Solution Demonstration“, Cisco Live excited many delegates this year, and one of the highlights was indeed the World of Solutions. I talked about how the industrial section of the ‘Cisco Campus’ not only showed off lots of new advances, but, for the first time, the small but important process industries (including Oil and Gas) booth opened up showing the services-based solutions Secure Ops and Collaborative Operations. Now let’s talk about Secure Ops.

In the video, I interview Cisco and Partner representatives to discuss the Secure Ops Solution from Cisco: What it is, what the business need is, and how Cisco is helping customers get better better business outcomes – especially when it comes to cybersecurity! Having the Secure Ops solution can increase availability of systems and critical infrastructure, reducing downtime in, for example, the oil and gas industry, or or any industry that relies on critical infrastructure such as process manufacturing, oil and gas, pharmaceuticals or other industrial automation environments.

Cisco Secure Ops delivers a standardized, comprehensive and integrated approach to security. It is supported by automation suppliers such as Yokogawa and Rockwell and technology providers such as McAfee and Symantec and provides a framework for a wide range of partners to participate. It’s currently installed at customers such as Royal Dutch Shell.

Rob Arlic of Cisco is joined by Galina Antova at Cisco Live. Rob talks about what Secure Ops is, how it helps provide not only cybersecurity protection, but also demonstrable regulation compliance. It therefore provide companies with higher availability and better Operational Excellence.

Galina talks about what’s new. Added capabilities include going deeper than just the IP network to gain more profound visibility into operations. Then gaining a view of what’s normal/abnormal in those other networks which can be assessed. Managing all that is key, and included.

Rob concludes by summing up: “It’s all about up-time and availability. If there are security vulnerabilities, (making sure) those are addressed proactively, proactively and preemptively”.

To learn more go to

And, as always, tell us what you think.

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