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Cybersecurity collaboration to deliver advanced control solutions

21st February 2013


A co-operative agreement between a leading cyber risk and compliance management company and a major safety consulting company promises to deliver advanced cyber-secure safety services for Scada and other process control systems. Sean Ottewell reports.

Wurldtech Security Technologies, a leading provider of cyber risk and compliance management solutions for industrial automation industries worldwide, has announced a strategic co-operative agreement with Kenexis Consulting Corporation to jointly deliver specialised safety process designs and services to address the evolving cyber risks facing operators of real-time industrial automation systems.

The continued deployment of Ethernet enabled devices in the industrial automation and control systems community has exposed a number of new potential cyber risks previously unrealised in process control safety and security.

Cyber security failures in industrial automation have both business and kinetic impacts.

These impacts which effect process efficiency and also create potentially unsafe operating conditions have been at the core of recent messaging by Wurldtech and Kenexis, who address this problem from both the device resiliency to fault by Wurldtech and building safer processes at Kenexis.

As these known and unknown cyber risks increase in frequency, severity and sophistication, operators of process control systems are realising traditional safety models are not fully in line with cyber risk and mitigation strategies.

System robustness

As a result, operators are demanding safety process designs that effectively incorporate cyber-security engineered safeguards to address system robustness, resiliency and safety.

Recognising that many asset owners want and need to ensure adherence to safety and reliability requirements through independent verification and testing of deployed solutions, this cooperation is designed to address this need through the development of specialised services that incorporate cyber risk management solutions with safety process designs.

By augmenting their existing safety consulting practices with Wurldtech's cyber risk and compliance management solutions, Kenexis becomes the industry's first independent testing house to feature solutions that offer asset owners a greater level of assurance against unintentional threats, safety failures, and protection against intentional cyber-security events..

Specialised safety solutions

The aim is to create and deliver specialised safety solutions that deliver industrial organisations a greater sense of overall process reliability, safety, and production efficiency through a reduction of errors, limiting repair and maintenance costs, increased protection from cyber attacks, and lowering unnecessary downtime.

"By leveraging Wurldtech's Achilles testing technology and security expertise in SCADA and process control systems, this agreement will help Kenexis to deliver services that integrate cyber security standards into safety and process design, giving industrial organisations stronger visibility into reliability, safety, and production efficiency of their operations," said Tyler Williams, president and ceo of Wurldtech.

"This strategy allows Wurldtech to continue to offer first-rate technological solutions for industrial security vendors and implementers and helps drive greater solutions to the asset owner market from a services-oriented and process centric approach.

Kenexis is well positioned to offer a more comprehensive portfolio of cyber-secure safety services for its industrial automation clientele."

Under the terms of the agreement, Wurldtech's vice president of security services, Bryan L Singer, will spearhead this joint effort and assume the role of principal consulting engineer at Kenexis.

In this position, he is charged with implementing converged security and safety services for evaluating process control environments and integrating third-party testing solutions for network, safety, and cyber-security.

While Wurldtech continues to focus on industry leading device testing and compliance solutions, they will offer process orientated solutions such as assessments and health checks to asset owners and utilise Singer and the Kenexis team when possible.

These solutions incorporate the Wurldtech's Achilles Technology Suite as well as the latest in industry standards and recommended practices into Kenexis' safety consulting solutions to create new service offerings designed to address safety and process requirements in addition to developing new engineered safeguards for cyber security of automation networks and safety instrumentation systems (SIS).

"Combining our proven track record in SIS design and implementation with the proven security technologies and services from Wurldtech is a critical next step to further improve the overall safety of our process industry customers worldwide," said Edward M Marszal, president of Kenexis Consulting Corporation..

Expanding internal robustness

In a separate development, Wurldtech has announced that HIMA Paul Hildebrandt, a leading supplier of safety-related automation solutions, has selected the Achilles Satellite Security Assurance Platform to expand internal robustness testing best practices for its product portfolio.

By integrating Achilles into established product development processes, HIMA and other global equipment manufacturers of Ethernet TCP/IP-based automation systems are greatly reducing business risk for their customers by proactively identifying, isolating and remediating vulnerabilities in process automation and control systems before they are deployed in operational industrial networks; minimising downtime and improving the overall security, availability and integrity of global critical infrastructure.

"Security and robustness testing plays an integral role in our product development lifecycle and enables our world-class development team to continuously improve the overall resiliency of our industrial safety automation product portfolio," said Stefan Ditting, product manager of HIMA. "To ensure our global customer base receives the highest level of on-going security assurance, with both legacy and next-generation safety systems, we selected Achilles to validate system performance under real-world conditions and improve the security and reliability of our customer's operations.".

Challenges

Developed specifically to address cyber-security challenges unique to the industrial automation industry, Achilles has claimed the leadership mantle as the trusted solution for diagnosing known and unknown vulnerabilities in SCADA and industrial control systems and is now widely deployed amongst global operators, systems integrators and vendors who supply and manage critical infrastructure in sectors such as oil and gas, power, energy, water, transportation, telecommunications, manufacturing, as well as military and intelligence.

"Global industrial automation equipment vendors are continually looking for solutions to improve the security posture of their products and are rapidly adopting expert cyber-security testing as a crucial component of the development lifecycle," said Williams. "We are pleased to add HIMA to our growing list of control system manufacturers who have chosen to leverage our Achilles technology to diagnose, mitigate and manage cyber-security risk from design through deployment."









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