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

The Ultimate Guide to ITSM Best Practices

ITSM or IT service management is a collective term used to describe the processes followed by organizations to design, plan, improve and deliver IT services they offer. It has become a standard procedure for organizations around the world to come up with a business-specific ITSM framework that aligns IT services and processes with organizational goals.

Cmms | 15.11.2018

Leak detection in the age of digitalization with SONOCHEK

Together with the update of the SONOCHEK apps SONOLEVEL and SONOLEAK, PRUFTECHNIK launches the SONOLEVEL DATAVIEWER, a new visualization PC-software for leak analysis. SONOCHEK is an innovative digital leak inspection device used to localize leaks in compressed air, gas and vacuum systems. The device includes automatic leak classification and its broad bandwidth of 20 to 100 kHz allows detecting leaks even at an early stage. SONOCHEK is also used effectively for electrical inspection and monitoring of bearing lubrication.

Asset Management | 24.10.2018

Cost-Effective, High Performance Flare Monitoring in the Petrochemical Industry

Safe flare operation and environmental protection require reliable and accurate flare pilot monitoring.

Partner Articles | 24.10.2018

Standards Increase Economic Growth and Help Companies Access Foreign Markets

Standardisation is a key to a well-functioning, economically prospering and sustainable society. It is also a way to increase economic growth. These conclusions can be made from the results of the new study “The Influence of Standards on the Nordic Economies”.

R&D | 24.10.2018

Future of Work: Gig Economy and Field Maintenance

In today's dynamic and inter-dependent world, traditional jobs are losing ground due to the rise of the gig economy. Modern blue and white collar workers now have the opportunity to choose to whom they will give their time, where will they work and under which conditions. 

HSE | 24.10.2018

How ultrasonic sensors and artificial intelligence improve condition monitoring

In an industrial setting, assets are everything. A breakdown can cause hours  of downtime, and thus hours of lost productivity and lower financial gains. Preventative maintenance is one way facility managers counteract system entropy, but it is not perfect strategy. In some cases, a preventive approach to maintenance can actually lower the overall effectiveness of an asset. In the case of a valve for example, constant tightening can cause premature wear and tear.

Applications | 23.10.2018

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