Safe and sound – data security in smart factories

Digitalization has a very good chance of becoming one of the words of the year. Digital solutions are enjoying a boom particularly in the age of mobile working, travel restrictions and limited personal contact. Here, we all transmit a considerable amount of data through the web that we need to know is absolutely secure. When it comes to digitalization, Oerlikon Manmade Fibers Solutions pays particular attention to one thing – data security in smart factories.

 

The IT experts within the Oerlikon Manmade Fibers Solutions business unit are also busy ensuring the data of its customers are secure. Digital solutions such as Remote Service, AIM4DTY, Smart Maintenance Workshops, Plant Operation Center and the fully networked ‘smart’ factory necessitate a secure infrastructure.

How this can be achieved is explained by Sebastian Helmer, responsible for Information Security at Oerlikon Manmade Fibers Solutions: ‘Secure by Design’ is currently standard practice for establishing the necessary IT security in the product from the outset. With our textile market expertise, intensive interaction with customers and our company-internal international experience, we have developed a picture of our customers’ requirements, which we are constantly expanding. We also deploy common standards in the development of solutions – including ISO27001 and IEC62443, among others. Building on this, we develop our own smart factory security solutions, all the way through to customized solutions. We test new solutions by means of so-called pen tests – here, tests are carried out to hack the system in order to close potential security gaps in a targeted manner – in order to further improve them and check our environments with security architecture reviews.”

The smart factory

Ceasing to be a mere vision long ago: the smart factory. Of critical importance here is the close relationship between IT and innovation. “With the smart factory concept, we have developed from an operator into a consultant. On the one hand, IT enables innovation. At the same time, innovation is, however, also taking place in IT – culminating in new-generation digital products. Hence, both cross-fertilize each other”, explains Chief Technology Officer at Oerlikon Manmade Fibers Solutions Jochen Adler, talking about the interaction between the two disciplines.

Operating a yarn manufacturing system requires various components and solutions: everything is present – from the control level, the Human Machine Interface (HMI), the automation systems, the Plant Operation Center all the way through to cloud solutions. All this requires smart infrastructure, which – in addition to a reliable network – includes a high-performance edge computing solution that, coupled with a modern software platform (CSP) and a correspondingly high security level, safeguards the security and the quality of the end product. By nature, data security is also decisive for all downstream processes within the textile value chain that build on the collated data or for merchandise management systems that are directly connected to the smart factory.

Secure data exchange

Services such as Remote Support and tools including the AIM4DTY training center necessitate data exchange. “Here, we draw on high standards for the purpose of encryption, customer separation and also minimizing data”, states Sebastian Helmer. “We basically distinguish between three categories of threat scenario: firstly, we have the unconscious actions of employees who unintentionally load malware onto a system without realizing this themselves. Then there are the attacks that have no concrete objective; here, perpetrators attempt to attack a company by means of SPAM or phishing. And, finally, there are attacks that focus concretely on a specific company. Here, perpetrators try to plant malware using targeted methods. This can extend all the way through to social engineering in order to exert influence over the relevant persons.”

The Oerlikon Manmade Fibers Solutions business unit is superbly equipped for the task with its smart factory solutions: “We have been supplying our customers with secure, certified hardware for decades now. And we also apply these standards to our software solutions: our digital products work with a safety net and a false bottom – hence ensuring secure and reliable operation at the customer site”, promises Jochen Adler.

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