Blog del CCI

lunes, 2 de mayo de 2016

The challenge of being an industrial cybersecurity professional

Deficiencies a young computer engineer became a steel one had to deal with in the first half of the 90s were many, when compared with those of today. [I naturally mean lack of resources and technical stuff. Personal shortcomings, certainly, are more numerous now than then].

To some, reading this may be boring  -giving that it has been repeated many times-; but this makes it no less true. It was a time when the fax was king of corporate communication. It was a time when the Internet barely existed and the use of e-mail was still incipient (leaving school to enter the workforce supposed, usually, a technological decline in several decades). AltaVista, the "popular" Internet searcher born at DEC’s labs, the company endowing all our process control facilities with hardware (VAX / VAXstation) and software (VMS / OpenVMS), did not yet exist. And besides, no one had a profile on a social network in which to contact any sector specialist nor in which to join a discussion forum where trying to solve their most pressing questions (for instance, those regarding which parameters to use in a skin-pass mill control algorithm).

But if any deficiency could be more palpable for a novice engineer, it was the lack of orientation and approach to addressing those complex automation and industrial control projects (especially, those implemented for new installations). PMBOK and PRINCE2 did not yet exist; and the latter's predecessor, PRINCE, had not yet left his native UK. As a result, the reference book in those days became one of the first editions of "Software Engineering. A Practitioner’s Approach" by Roger S. Pressman.

Today, more than two decades later, a new discipline, Cybersecurity, still leaves many engineers  -novice and veteran-  mystified. Its recent emergence in the industrial landscape has highlighted the shortcomings of more than one when she tries to apply it in the projects she faces. Aware of this, CCI addressed over a year ago the challenge of developing a new guide that offered some guidance and method to those involved in any phase of an industrial automation and control project. This week you will see the result.

Until that time, consider how the consequences of deficiencies, as the ones described here, have affected the Gundremmingen (Germany) nuclear power plant. See also how certain recipes can relieve  -even, avoid-  these misfortunes. And do not stop learning, either on ZigBee communications or on the trend that is revolutionizing and is going to revolutionize, even more, the industrial automation landscape: the advent of smart OT.

Deepen these and other topics in today’s issue. And enjoy reading!

Author: Miguel García-Menéndez

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