Keeping Doors Open and Closed at the Same Time

Engines are able contact a service desk directly if they expect failure. Ships are able to communicate with ports during their voyage on what repairs they need. Even elevators, made by Finnish manufacturer Kone, ­are communicating in plain English on how the latest trip upstairs went, and if the system recognised anything notable. All this is already happening today!

taival_1

One of the key benefits of digitization and the industrial Internet is the improved access to, and availability of, information. Many organizations already offer programmable interfaces called APIs to external parties hoping to strengthen their ecosystems or facilitate the building of new services that would benefit them.

The availability and sharing of information is increasing, as are the interactions between companies. Information that would in earlier times have been kept confidential is nowadays available to partners or other external resources through digital means. Flat organizational structures further create a need and possibility for companies to share and utilize information in the organization more effectively.

To those in charge of corporate information security the open availability of information is a nightmare in the making. The counterpoint to free information sharing is regulation, which is trying to keep up to speed with the development. An example of this is the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR in short), becoming effective in spring 2018, which seeks to protect the personal privacy of individual citizens with comprehensive limitations and large fines to organizations. Although there is a lot of talk about the regulation and its effects to companies, the compliance requirements and the extent of changes required will take many companies by surprise.

There is a great need for companies to step up their game in security. Viruses and phishing attacks are a constant problem in almost every organization, and the more precious the information handled, the stronger and more advanced are the threats. Flame, a very advanced malware program was found at the beginning of the decade after it had been secretly infecting the factories and political organizations in the Middle East for two years prior. Stuxnet, another advanced malware, successfully sabotaged the production in a specific Iranian factory by changing the programming logic for the centrifuges in the production line.

To summarize, companies are currently in a situation where they should open up all information channels, but at the same time limit and protect that same information from various threats. If the companies want to stay onboard the digital transformation wave, the people responsible for the information assets need to build capabilities to advance both these objectives. Below are three important requirements for any company wanting to be digitally secure:

React fast

The continuously and rapidly evolving malware programs and hacking methods will open the doors of any company, regardless of the security precautions. Rather than putting all the money on building thicker walls and stricter controls, it pays to improve the speed of detecting and reacting to threats. The longer the company is exposed to the attack, the greater the havoc caused.

Train your people

Extensive communication and training to increase security awareness, especially for the employees in information intensive roles, plays a critical part in the protection scheme. When the company employees learn to recognize and react correctly to threats and understand how to handle confidential information, the risks of information thefts are radically diminished. Positive, non-threatening and fact-based messages about security processes and common policies ensure that harmful events like virus infections are not covered up, but rather reported and reacted to.

Protect end to end

Regardless of the transport medium, the information channel needs to be secure from every angle, both technically and contractually. If a company shares information about customers to a partner, the transfer of information must be done securely; the contract between the parties needs to protect the information and only the information needed to complete the tasks should be transferred. If the transfer is done technically, the transfer route needs to be encrypted the whole way to the end point.

The future is intelligent

The need for information protection, but also for open and flexible information sharing are going to increase dramatically in the future. With the Internet of Things becoming more commonplace, the amount of available information is going to explode, when everything from a toaster to a power station is connected to the Internet. New technologies are on their way however, to also protect information in the future as well. Blockchain is expected to radically change the reliability of digital information by e.g. registering the maintenance data of an object to a special database where the records can be seen but not altered. Artificial intelligence will be taught to learn, understand and monitor normal information handling events of an organization, and alert or defend the system if something out of the ordinary is taking place.

Free access to information will have a great impact on the interaction of people, organizations or even nations. At the same time we are seeing how the misuse or falsification of information in politics is causing great harm to everyone. Corporations have a duty to show the way in open, but secure data utilization by keeping their doors open, but closing them rapidly when the need arises.

    

reko_just face (2)

Writer of this blog post for Maintworld-magazine: Reko Lehti

Lehti is a partner in Taival Advisory Inc, who specializes in digital transformation, ecosystems and future business architectures. Reko has previously worked in a security, architecture and strategy leadership role in retail as well as in management consultant.

News | 17.3.2017

Latest articles

Mining sector to rely increasingly on renewables, report finds

As mining companies become more aware of the rapidly falling costs of renewables, wind and solar are set become a growing trend in powering mining operations worldwide over the coming years, shows a new report from Fitch Solutions. On the back of carbon pricing schemes, countries and companies operating in the Americas are best positioned to lead the way in the adoption of renewables in mining.

HSE | 12.9.2018

Evaluating IT asset management software: Who do you trust?

Nowadays, more or less all companies have to deal with diverse kinds of IT assets. Using IT assets (software, hardware, digital media and networking) is no longer specific to the technology giants. 

Cmms | 7.9.2018

Undeniable proof that you need a reliable IT service desk

Are you still stuck up with the traditional back-office IT service management system, that requires manual logging of issues in an excel document? Is it taking you eons to come up with a report of reliable data you’ve been entrusted with by the business user? Or, do you have too many software applications that automated your ticketing system but added to your woes in the form of too many complications and errors? I

Asset Management | 6.9.2018

New methanol engine ready for the marine market

Within the frame of the GreenPilot project, Gothenburg-based ScandiNAOS AB has developed methanol engine concepts for the marine industry. A spark ignited methanol engine that wasn installed and tested in the Swedish Pilot boat “GreenPilot” has now been followed by a compression ignited methanol engine. The GreenPilot project is lead and initiated by Swedish Maritime Technology Forum, part of RISE Research Institutes of Sweden.

R&D | 4.9.2018

Wärtsilä Ballast Water Management Systems successfully tested for global compliance

Technology group Wärtsilä has announced that its Aquarius UV Ballast Water Management System (BWMS) has successfully completed all testing procedures required for United States Coastguard (USCG) type approval compliance. The documentation for full USCG type approval is being finalised for submission and awaits only final input from DNV-GL, the USCG approved independent laboratory.

Applications | 25.7.2018

How to Safely Align Wind Turbines

Safety engineers around the world can breathe easy. The PRUFTECHNIK ROTALIGN® and OPTALIGN® technology has made aligning machine shafts, especially gear shafts, much safer.

Partner Articles | 6.6.2018

Maintenance: A Necessary and Important Function in the Future

Euromaintenance 2016 will take place in Athens at the end of May. It is the ideal moment to reflect on maintenance in a European context. Euromaintenance is known as the summit for all involved in maintenance across Europe, it’s the place to be. The conference, with the support of the EFNMS, is the only commercially independent conference covering the topics we deal with in the maintenance world.

EFNMS | 20.5.2016