Openness and security can go hand-in-hand to support IIoT

  • Posted by admin on October 22, 2017

As organisations grapple with the complexities of securing industrial internet of things (IIoT) applications across multiple bearers, Robert Jones, vice president of Product and Sales at Netsnapper and Dan Caton, the partner manager at Wireless Logic Group, explain how new approaches can achieve both high security and the openness needed for IIoT to flourish.

IoT Now: What are the challenges of reconciling the conflicting demands of security with maintaining openness in IIoT? To what extent are compromises necessary?

Robert Jones: A lot of people are getting into IIoT and as that happens different companies are entering the market. On one hand you have companies, like Wireless Logic, that know endpoint connectivity but there are also enterprise players that know enterprise virtual private networks (VPNs) and application management. These two worlds have been operating separately and are coming together now but the enterprise people don’t necessarily understand the complexity of the connectivity world.

The security approach is different, too. Usually in a secure enterprise you use a private access point name (APN) – integrators will have a private APN with an operator – and it usually takes one to three months to deploy a new APN. It’s therefore a big cost and only the SIM cards from that operator are secure. People are left to try and secure their VPNs with that.

With openness, there’s a lot of benefit and value in having things publically addressable on the Internet but this can represent a security risk. We, however, can supply addressable IPv6 addresses to every device and openness can be enabled securely using configurable encryption for backend data analytics from specific devices, for example.

IoT Now: What methods and technologies are being adopted to achieve openness in secure IIoT environments?

RJ: We’re using software defined networking (SDN) to cut across different bearer types and within our software we’re providing configurable, up to 384 bit, encryption. We’re also looking at quantum technology to enable us further in future. The other thing opening up these networks for use in IIoT is IPv6. It’s been talked about for ten years but it’s really needed now because public IPv4 Internet addresses are running out.

Another benefit is that we can provide a bridge between IPv4 and IPv6. We have that futureproof piece today and can assign different addresses to endpoints.

IoT Now: So how does Netsnapper help?

RJ: With a partner like Wireless Logic we can secure the whole network. In addition to the capabilities I’ve mentioned earlier, if you want maintenance staff to have a view of certain parts of the network we allow policy management and encryption to devices to enable a person-tomachine (P2M) secure policy layer.

IoT Now: Dan, how is Wireless Logic utilising Netsnapper’s solutions?

Dan Caton: Wireless Logic is currently exploring many markets and applications where cloudbased Netsnapper can enhance our own secure infrastructure solutions, importantly bringing in its core modules at the earliest stage of connectivity planning. As a horizontal provider, this means that we are exposed to multiple verticals, many of which might employ facets or indeed the majority […]

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