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

The State of Maintenance Operations in 2019

The majority of maintenance managers are satisfied with their maintenance budget (58%) and an overwhelming majority are confident in their ability to retain good technicians (80%), according to a survey conducted by UpKeep . Additionally, 46% of maintenance managers don’t think a recession would impact their maintenance operations and 20% don’t think a recession will even happen despite economic uncertainty.

News | 26.1.2019

Latest articles

Implementing RCM? 5 Mistakes You Need to Avoid

If you are considering to employ  RCM analysis  at your facility, it means you have recognized the need for a change in your maintenance strategies. Reliability-centered maintenance is an excellent way to keep your plant or machinery up and running by helping you choose the optimal maintenance strategy for all of your important assets. 

Cmms | 19.3.2019

Wärtsilä successfully tests remote guidance service capabilities

Technology group Wärtsilä has successfully tested its remote guidance service, thereby creating an entirely new dimension in vessel repair and maintenance operations.

Applications | 15.3.2019

Save Energy in Steam and Condensate Systems

The oldest paper mill still operating in Germany detects defective steam traps with digital ultrasonic testing technology

Partner Articles | 15.3.2019

Developing the Leadership Mindset: Set your Mind, Manage your Destiny

In the time it takes you to read this article, I hope to forever change how you think and act. A lofty goal for 1,638 words, right? No pressure. How is this possible? By helping you to develop an unbreakable perspective that is the key source of success for modern leaders.  Whoever you are, whatever your situation, you will benefit from this powerful mindset. 1,574 words to go; let’s get started. 

Asset Management | 15.3.2019

Digital Line of Sight

Will a Digital Twin Become a Key Element of Your Digitalization Strategy to Reduce Risk and Enable Operational Excellence?

R&D | 14.3.2019

Tips on How to Accelerate the Circular Economy

Do you know how to design a circular economy plant? Planning to acquire one? Save money by avoiding pitfalls.

HSE | 13.3.2019

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