Edge computing is cloud computing moved closer to the end device to reduce network latency. If your work involves making industrial digital operations run smoothly and with minimal downtime, the complexity of your edge security challenges may seem daunting.
For all the benefits that come with the digitalization of operations, industry players from all sectors must protect themselves – and their communities – from cyber criminals looking to exploit vulnerabilities in their digital operations.
Edge security challenges for water authorities
The water and wastewater sector ranked as the third most targeted sector for cybercrime in 2015. As these threats grow more complex, the cybersecurity solutions for our industrial operational technology systems must grow more robust.
As proven of late, the impact of a cyberattack on critical infrastructure such as a water plant could be far-reaching: first-and third-party damage, business interruption, and regulatory consequences. It could also put lives at risk.
In February, cyber attackers briefly altered the levels of sodium hydroxide, also known as lye, 100-fold at a water and wastewater treatment plant that supplies drinking water to a small Florida city. A supervisor monitoring the systems noticed the threat and mitigated it in time. If the hackers had been successful, it would have put about 15,000 city residents in jeopardy.
How to accelerate OT system digital transformation
The incident above demonstrates the vulnerability of critical infrastructure systems. It also highlights the vital role of cybersecurity solutions to safeguard operational technology (OT) systems.
By accelerating their OT digital transformation, industrial sites can become more agile, efficient, and resilient. And by collaborating on in an open ecosystem like Schneider Electric Exchange, industrial operations and technology partners can collaborate to better respond to security challenges.
Two case studies from Schneider Electric Certified Technology Partner, Enigmedia, offer strong examples of how EcoStruxure and an open, global community of problem solvers can help industrial sites and utilities find innovative EcoStruxure joint solutions to their OT and edge cybersecurity challenges.
Success story: water authority edge security
Finding a customized edge security solution
Network operators must ensure the integrity of their infrastructure, continuity, and safety. They need cybersecurity solutions that can address cybersecurity threats without spending too much time and money on a complex deployment.
Take, for example, a regional water authority that approached MSI Grupo, a Schneider Electric Alliance Registered system integrator that specializes in automation and electrical engineering projects.
MSI Grupo’s customer wanted to enhance its cybersecurity measures. They sought an easy-to-deploy and affordable solution that was fully compatible with their existing legacy infrastructure.
When MSI Grupo proposed the Mercury solution based on EcoStruxure IIoT Edge Box offered by Enigmedia, a developer of best-in-class OT cybersecurity solution for industrial environments, the customer accepted.
With Enigmedia’s Mercury solution, the water authority benefited in numerous ways, including:
Improved cybersecurity through seamless connectivity with a central management console
Cost savings and fast implementation (thanks to compatibility with existing devices, protocols, and networks)
Avoidance of complex and intrusive deployment projects and production downtime
An open digital marketplace for software solutions
Schneider Electric Exchange’s open digital marketplace made MSI Grupo’s collaboration with Enigmedia (above) seamless. The digital ecosystem made it easy for MSI Grupo to match their customer’s project needs with a solution. With only a few clicks, MSI Grupo ordered the solution for their water customer.
Ordering and paying is a fully digital process on Schneider Electric Exchange. Customers can choose from one-time or recurrent purchases. In the case of MSI Grupo, they chose a recurrent monthly subscription – as easy as subscribing to Netflix.
“Schneider Electric Exchange simplifies the procurement process, and it’s really convenient for small or medium projects,” says Peter Craamer, Innovation Manager at MSI Group.
Success story: petrochemical industry cybersecurity
Leveraging Community forums to problem-solve
In another real-life use case of Schneider Electric Exchange, Base Sistemas (a Schneider Electric Alliance Certified system integrator specializing in industrial automation and control) went to the Shneider Electric Community forums to find a solution for their petrochemical customer.
It all started with a question on Exchange. Base Sistemas posted their inquiry about how to enhance cybersecurity at a petrochemical plant non-intrusively and with near-zero latency.
Many of the hundreds of providers and integrators on Schneider Electric Exchange responded to the inquiry. Base Sistemas selected Enigmedia's solution because it was fully compatible with the client’s requirements.
The results of their collaboration resulted in a solution geared to the end user that will deliver:
A non-intrusive cybersecurity solution
Uninterrupted speed due to <1 millisecond latency
Easy plug-and-play deployment – thanks to zero-touch provisioning
The relationship between Base Sistemas and Enigmedia began with a question and continued from there. Today, their project is in the execution phase.
Addressing industrial cybersecurity challenges on SE Exchange
Threats on critical industrial sites like water treatment plants and petrochemical facilities have far-ranging implications that extend into our communities and, in some cases, impact our national security.
Operators of industrial sites must be proactive in their responses to recent attacks – like the one on the Florida water and wastewater treatment plant – and take appropriate actions to improve their cybersecurity.
An important step to determine the strength of their cybersecurity for protecting their OT devices includes asking questions, including the following:
How can we make sure that some of our critical communications remain healthy and operational in the case of an attack?
How do we ensure that critical data flows are always maintained?
How do we segment non-critical loads and critical loads to keep our employees safe?
The journey to improving cybersecurity also involves finding solutions that can offer the best protection. In this part of the process, industrial sites can benefit from access to Schneider Electric Exchange’s marketplace and digital community – a worldwide network of knowledgeable industry professionals.
Exchange enables small-to-medium-sized businesses to extend the reach of their offers and solutions to a global audience. It also helps technology partners like Enigmedia simplify the process of acquiring new business in key markets they wouldn’t have access to before.
A multi-lingual Global Marketing & Digital Communication/Community Management specialist, mostly involved in Sales enablement & Digital transformation. Born in Morocco, grown up in France, studied in England, worked in the US, I like to consider myself as a world citizen who treasures relationship building, intellectual curiosity & learning agility.