Monday, January 27, 2014
While many machines are still based on legacy hardware, the adoption of Ethernet-based production systems continues to grow steadily. According to Design World, improving technology is allowing for easier integration into Intranet, Internet, and IT networks, allowing for higher bandwidth usage and lower costs for businesses. However, one concern that is beginning to crop up alongside the increased integration of serial to Ethernet converters and Ethernet-based machines is the protection of sensitive systems and increased security risk.
According to the news source, Volkswagen AG, which has been investing in more advanced Ethernet-based systems to automate its production processes, recently conducted an internal risk audit, focusing on the security of multiple systems, such as their control technology. The firm found that their production network is insufficiently protected against unauthorized access, malware, mis-entry and unintentional access. The company audit further noted that the use of centralized firewalls wouldn't be an effective solution due to cost.
"A typical example is the installation of a server which subsequently sends ping packets to the entire network at short intervals," Jens Hoofdmann, a bodywork maintenance specialist, told the news source regarding the report. "Such permanent requests can disrupt or even crash an industrial controller."
One way to advance the integration of production networks and IT networks safely is to optimize the supporting hardware put in place to connect legacy and updated systems more effectively. Media converters, RS232 to Ethernet solutions and other key technologies will provide a more secure, optimized foundation to launch further improvements from and ensure the stability of the network.
While optimizing security can take significant further advances, as well as the improvement of the IT network on its own, implementing the right serial to Ethernet converter technology for the production network is a critical step in upgrading for new trends, whether it be automation or remote access to controls. By ensuring the proper technology is in place to support current and future needs, industrial enterprises can begin optimizing their workflows for the future.
Perle's serial to Ethernet converters connect serial based equipment across an Ethernet network. The Perle IOLAN range of Console Servers, Device Servers and Terminal Servers feature built-in support for IPv6 along with a broad range of authentication methods and encryption technologies.