Enhancing security for the Industrial Internet of Things

As the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) continues to deliver value from connecting plant-floor devices to the enterprise, security remains an ongoing challenge. Therefore, Cisco and Rockwell Automation have collaborated to develop a deep-packet-inspection (DPI) technology for use in industrial security appliances.

An industrial firewall with DPI technology extends visibility down to the plant floor, enables logging of traffic patterns, and provides the opportunity for informed decision-making following a set of security policies.

Users can log a range of data for any network connection or protocol, such as EtherNet/IP, including where the traffic is coming from, where it is going and with which application it is associated. While IT managers previously had this visibility, now both plant and IT managers can use this technology to more securely manage network traffic from the plant to the enterprise.

When used between industrial and cell/area zones in a Converged Plantwide Ethernet (CPwE) architecture, a plant-floor application using DPI technology has the ability to instruct a firewall to deny firmware downloads to a controller. This guards against tampering with firmware and helps protect the integrity of the operation, as only an authorised user would be able to conduct the download.

The companies will bring this technology to market in 2016.