Advanced, Secure Networks: Strategic Backbones of Digitalization

In recent years, rapid technology advancements have given rise to the industrial Internet of Things. Among them are cloud computing and storage, Big Data, and advanced analytics. But what makes it all work is secure, deterministic connectivity. That’s why industrial enterprises wishing to pursue end-to-end digitalization of their operations must
consider networks to be the strategic backbones of their operations.

Without these networks, modern industrial enterprises would come to a standstill. To support users in offices and remote locations, they need to connect large, strategic assets and capabilities consisting of sophisticated information technology (IT). Among them are enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, customer relationship management (CRM) systems, big data analytics, and other core applications residing in either data centers or the cloud. Data and network security and access are paramount to
prevent hacker intrusions and compromised data integrity
and privacy.

And, to keep production running, they need to ensure the secure, interconnected operation of complex operational technology (OT) landscapes. These start at the field level, operating in real time and often in extreme environments. They include potentially thousands of sensors, actuators, valves, instrumentation, and other devices, usually from
many different vendors. That’s not to mention their constituent machinery and even conveyor systems, also from diverse sources. Meanwhile, all these components must feed and draw operational data into and from dynamic, vertical infrastructures consisting of a wide range of controllers, operator systems and manufacturing execution systems.

Unfortunately, many industrial enterprises have built their networks as components of their IT/OT infrastructure, adding networks or extending networks as needed. The result has been a patchwork of sub-optimal network segments, creating information islands that can prevent
true, end-to-end digitalization. Worse, a fragmented network topology can expose operations to security vulnerabilities that hackers can exploit to gain access to critical assets and data, both on or off the shop floor.

To find out how to build a network that will serve as a strategic backbone for your digitalization, download the complete article here.

Questions? Contact our Engineering Team!

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