SAIMC


SAIMC: Durban branch technology meeting

June 2024 SAIMC

The Durban branch of the SAIMC held its May technology meeting a week later than usual due to the 1 May public holiday. It was well attended, and it was great to see some new faces there.

Johan Huisame from RJ Connect gave an interesting and enlightening presentation entitled: ‘An insecure network is an unreliable network – defend your industrial networks’. He is a senior field application engineer who has been with RJ Connect for seven years, and is a certified Moxa support engineer, so he was well qualified to present to the audience in attendance.

He began his presentation by stressing that to optimise operational efficiency in modern industrial automation systems, network convergence between OT and IT is imperative. While streamlining OT/IT networks unlocks the potential of industrial systems, it also raises network security concerns. It is a particular concern for those OT systems that used to be air gapped, but must still protect network communications without interrupting operations. To realise the advantages of industrial automation network and cybersecurity, a holistic approach needs to be applied.

Security hardened and certified devices represent only the first step towards implementing a secure and reliable network. Network segmentation is also crucial for isolating security-related threats, and providing more flexibility to apply rules and conduits for data to pass through. Real-time network visibility is critical for industrial automation systems, not only from an operational stance, but also from a security point of view. Intrusion prevention and detection then becomes integral in providing higher levels of security and protection. Lastly, centralised security management to monitor real-time security-related events and configure and maintain security policies in the network would then round out the security of your network. He finished by posing the question: “Is your network reliable if it’s not secure?”

The evening concluded with a delicious dinner and some convivial networking. The Durban branch management team would like to thank RJ Connect for its kind sponsorship and informative presentation.


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