Recently I read an excellent article in Automation.com written by Eric Byres, CTO and VP of Engineering at Byres Security, Inc. which was acquired by Belden earlier this year, which discussed the ongoing dilemma between industrial automation companies' concern over security (and for good reason in most cases) versus the need and desire to connect the factory floor/plant operations to the rest of the enterprise so as to maximize ROA and to improve corporate competitiveness.
I am a firm proponent in encouraging companies to invest, wisely of course, in products and technologies that will enable greater productivity, increased operational visibility, greater agility and increased profitability. Traditionally industrial automation operations have operated as walled off silos from other parts of an organization and have not been connected into the larger corporate enterprise; historically this was done in many cases for good reason as the potential impact of a security breach or communications error may have had dire consequences for the company itself as well as perhaps the surrounding public.
What I really liked about this article was it touched on several different markets such as industrial networking - both wireline and wireless, functional safety and data acquisition, as after all one needs to acquire data before it can be actionable and tied into the enterprise, on which VDC has been covering for decades and it imparted a sound rationale for achieving both greater security and operational efficiency.
I strongly encourage anyone interested in, or concerned over, security and efficiency as it relates to industrial automation operations to read this article and think about how it may relate to your own organizational and/or operational issues and how you may put some of the information imparted to good use.
Happy New Year wishes to you and yours