Remote Access to Plant Equipment
The Organization for Machine Automation and Control (OMAC) is a global organization that supports the machine automation and operational needs of manufacturing. Realizing the importance of Remote Access to industrial machines, OMAC initiated a workgroup in September 2020 to create best practices for network-based Remote Access and data collection methods for industrial applications based on comprehensive research of existing technologies, deployed solutions, and emerging requirements in terms of security and privacy. This document is a summary of the workgroup’s findings and recommendations.
This essential guide details all aspects to consider for a successful implementation, including strategies and tactics to develop healthy information technology (IT)/operational technology (OT) working relationship and promote cybersecurity. The focus is on the OT requirements to establish a safe and secure connection while working within IT’s boundaries.
In summary, Remote Access will continue to evolve and play a more significant role in supporting manufacturing operations. By documenting the current state of best practices for Remote Access, OMAC has developed a reference point that can be used by OEMs, systems integrators, end-users, and automation suppliers to gauge where they stand with their current or planned Remote Access solutions. Involving various individuals from the automation ecosystem provides a broader outlook at this topic which balances the requirements of the user with the services of the supplier. This document can be consolidated into the following steps:
- Assess your current situation
- Ensure there is good IT/OT collaboration
- Develop a Remote Access plan
- Understand your industrial automation network architectures
- Create levels of security for individuals seeking Remote Access
- Establish a verification process that allows you to connect to the correct device• Implement and maintain cybersecurity throughout the process
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Working with Exotek and CSIA gave us the right input to cross the hurdles of a growing company. Identify some gaps and working on improvements was the big benefit for us, including comparison with the CSIA detailed best practices matrix/point system. You go through your entire company in detail and it opens your eyes when you do. We will continue the collaboration with Exotek and CSIA to even improve and get better in our challenging system integrator business.
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