How can I protect my production from cyberattacks without compromising safety?
12 Oct 2016
Interaction between safety and security
In a smart factory it should be possible to reconfigure modular plants quickly and flexibly or to re-arrange the way they are combined. The safety solution validation must then be able to cope with this (last-minute) flexibility. A static review of functional safety – i.e. hard stopping the machine in an emergency – and security is no longer relevant, therefore.
A modular concept needs to emerge
Concepts based on a holistic view of changing automation processes and functional safety requirements provide a modern alternative. Safety becomes a cross-device function. With this dynamic approach, processes can be safely controlled, without always having to interrupt them immediately each time there is a fault. For this purpose, functional safety must be considered from the start when planning automation projects. If not it may be necessary to modify retrospectively the sequence of individual production steps or of a whole process. This prevents optimum solutions and also entails considerable expense.
Cybercrime continues to grow
In contrast to functional safety, the challenge for security is that security mechanisms constantly need to be adapted to the actual threat. Security loopholes can adversely affect production with all its functional elements. Safety applications can only be protected from threats from the cyberworld by combining various measures and security guidelines, with strict compliance by all those involved.