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Perfection in Protection, Licensing, and Security

A Reality Check about the Security of Smart Factories

February 2016
Author: Wibu-Systems
A Reality Check about the Security of Smart Factories

When I recently watched a report about Tofaş, with its impressive one-million square meter operation and its leading position in the Fiat-Chrysler world in terms of World Class Manufacturing (WCM), I seriously wondered what else Smart Factories could offer in the near future. Over the last three centuries, we have introduced manufacturing plants with their mechanical systems, we have changed our energy sources from water power to steam to electricity, paving the way for mass production, and we have automated manufacturing processes with robotics; what else is coming next? It’s all encapsulated in one term: cyber-physical systems (CPS).

The Good News

CPS are going to change the narrative in any case. We’ve spent the last 20 years digitizing our world and our entire history as family and business people and as citizens. A Maasai warrior has more access to knowledge and information than Bill Clinton had at the time of his presidency, and we are getting used to wearables at an increasingly fast pace. However, we could possibly do something more meaningful with our connected devices than taking selfies.

As simple as it seems, the exponential growth of IT has ignited a transformation so profound that it is hard to see beyond its own horizons. Lean machines, connected to cloud intelligence, will introduce a diffused and decentralized concept. Nobody really knows at this stage where exactly this is going to bring us, but governments, academia, and the private sector are all optimistic about the future.

The benefits of Smart Factories come in many shapes and forms:

  1. Predictable productivity: I can foresee production volumes with extreme accuracy
  2. Predictive maintenance: I can automatize the procurement of spare parts
  3. Adaptive analytics: I can implement analytical skills for Big Data, and be flexible in my plans
  4. Lower operating costs: I can reduce personnel, energy, and process costs
  5. Friendly to the environment: I can make better use of natural resources
  6. Lower enterprise risks: I can distribute my TCO among several manufacturers
  7. Greater convenience for the user: I can deliver customized products to each customer
  8. Custom marketing: I can run more effective campaigns

The discussion is still very much active in the industrial community, and we have outlined several additional advantages; to find out more about them, you can register for our webinar: Smart Factories redefine Security Paradigms for an interesting and open debate with the Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC), our exclusive featured guest!

The Bad News

The 2015 annual report about the Economic Freedom of the World made an interesting point: The individual and societal determinants of happiness have been heavily investigated in recent years and the findings indicate that one important correlate of life satisfaction is the degree to which people feel they are in control of their own lives. If terrorism is shaking our conscience, cyber terrorism can be far more disruptive. It might sound apocalyptic, but the loss of control that could derive from a single security breach could have massive repercussions.

As long as machines were isolated optimized cells, the need for security was deemed lower, with good reason. Let’s imagine that the predictions made by the IDC are correct and that, by 2020, we have to deal with 44 ZB of data floating in the cloud, coming from billions of connected devices and trillions of sensors. The US Federal court may have a real case in ordering Apple to give the FBI access to the iPhones, but if such decisions are motivated by the greater good of the world population, the security bar cannot be lowered or made optional, especially in the industrial environment. It rather needs to be pervasive in every endpoint and every communication channel, by default.

Saving the Best for Last

By 2020, European industrial companies will invest €140 billion annually in Industrial Internet applications. In parallel, from 2014 to 2020, the Horizon 2020 research program alone will provide almost €80 billion for research and innovation in Europe. Factories of the Future is a public-private partnership (PPP), launched initially under the earlier Seventh Framework Program, but now continuing as part of Horizon 2020. It focuses on advanced, smart, digital, collaborative, human-centered, and customer-focused manufacturing (proposed budget €1.5 billion).

Fueled by government incentives and the desire to innovate, many key players have already generated security solutions for brownfield and greenfield IIoT projects. Join us together with the IIC to learn about the opportunities that are appearing around the globe, the Smart Factory hubs where the main actors are collaborating, the turnkey security solutions already available, and the plans for open standardization. Let’s reinvent production, marketing, and sales together!


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