Design Engineering

Rockwell Automation, Cisco enhance IIOT Security


Automation Cisco IIOT Rockwell Automation security

Industry leaders join forces to improve and scale security monitoring and management.

The manufacturing environment is becoming more and more connected making it easier for system monitoring and digitization of control devices. With the rise of Industry 4.0, there is the added challenge of dealing with security issues, especially as new methods of attack and sabotage are becoming mainstream. Without the correct security, attacks on industrial control system resources can have serious implications, including downtime, disruption of productivity, equipment damage and safety risks.

IOT Rockwell Automatoin

Photo: Rockwell Automation

Currently, IT systems leverage firewalls to monitor security risks on the IT network. However, one of the challenges is that IT firewalls are not aware of industrial protocols used on the plant floor – limiting the ability to minimize risk throughout the entire network.

Cisco and Rockwell Automation have collaborated to develop a deep-packet-inspection (DPI) technology for use in industrial security appliances.

An industrial firewall with DPI technology extends visibility down to the plant floor, enables logging of traffic patterns, and provides the opportunity for informed decision-making following a set of security policies. Users can log a range of data for any network connection or protocol, such as EtherNet/IP, including where the traffic is coming from, where it is going and with which application it is associated. While IT managers previously had this visibility, now both plant and IT managers can use this technology to more securely manage network traffic from the plant to the enterprise.


When used between industrial and cell/area zones in a Converged Plantwide Ethernet (CPwE) architecture, a plant-floor application using DPI technology has the ability to instruct a firewall to deny firmware downloads to a controller. This guards against tampering with firmware and helps protect the integrity of the operation. Only an authorized user would be able to conduct the download.

“Security on the plant floor continues to be a top concern for manufacturers and industrial operators as they build a Connected Enterprise,” said Juergen Weinhofer, vice president, common architecture and technology, Rockwell Automation. This collaboration allows for enhanced security for new and existing industrial control systems.

“We can track all network connections in real time and react when issues arise,” explained Doug Bellin, global industries lead, Cisco. “This is another case of the best of IT and the best of operations coming together to solve a real need.”


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