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Honeywell Expands Cyber Security for Plant Control

July 9, 2013, 5:15 a.m.
Michela Menting, Research Director

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A few weeks ago, Honeywell unveiled a set of new solutions for plant control rooms at the 2013 Honeywell Users Group (HUG) Americas Symposium. Two new technologies were introduced: the Cyber Security Dashboard and the Premium platform for Experion Virtualization Solutions. The other two technologies on show were updated versions of the Experion Collaboration Station and Honeywell’s OneWireless Network.

The Cyber Security Dashboard consolidates all data onto a single view, allowing operators to access more detailed content such as graphics, trends, documents and applications. Capabilities include running anti-virus protection and managing patches through the creation of customized alerts. The Dashboard is set for global roll-out in 2014 and adds to the current range of Honeywell products aimed at critical infrastructure protection. The company’s offerings include integrated and centrally managed security solutions for industrial process controls. Part of the solution involves preliminary assessments against industry standards and regulatory requirements with industrial IT specialists. Following the assessment, three phases are rolled out: remediation (system hardening), management (to ensure continuity) and assurance.

The Cyber Security Dashboard presents itself as a natural extension to Honeywell’s existing product range. However, securing industrial control systems from cyber threats is a topic that has been much debated but little acted on in the past few years. There are massive discrepancies between the number of publicly disclosed vulnerabilities and the efforts to remedy those failings. Honeywell has addressed possibly one of the most critical aspects of these shortcomings – empowering the human operator to better understand, access and manage threats. Industrial control operators often lack the IT security knowledge required and IT experts are not trained to work in plant control environments. This gap is being address with the company’s Cyber Security Dashboard, which comes at an opportune moment; the current cyber threat landscape is undeniably moving towards industrial control systems. Honeywell is positioning itself to address the triarchy for a functioning cyber security model at the industrial level: people, process and technology. Successful implementation of such a strategy will bestow a significant competitive advantage on the multinational in the market for plant control systems and components.