When properly harnessed, it can improve production availability, yield and quality. It can also get manufacturers to market faster by accelerating both mainstream production and product development.
WWT's consultants understand the power of data coming off the plant floor. But we also know that turning this data into actionable insights isn’t easy. It requires business smarts, a bridge between OT and IT, and architectures that provide secure, pervasive connectivity to industrial systems and applications.
Data for Data’s Sake
While sensors produce valuable data, they also produce a lot of it. It’s easy for AI platforms and data lakes to capture more data than companies can act on. By taking a step back and identifying what use cases will improve availability, yield and quality, manufacturers can make sure they are capturing data that leads to operational gains.
The OT/IT Gap
Operations teams and IT teams have evolved separately over many decades. But these teams must work together if manufacturers are to become data driven. When OT and IT share the same challenges and goals, they can work together to build an IIoT platform that considers all stages of the data life cycle.
Digital versus Legacy Infrastructure
Manufacturers need to adopt a digital, connected infrastructure to make the best use of data. This means onboarding enterprise IT technologies. The trick is integrating these technologies with fixed industrial equipment. Digital architectures based on plant-specific designs can marry new technology with industrial systems for smooth data acquisition and analysis.
Lack of Visibility
Digital manufacturing and IIoT strategies are increasing the exposure of SCADA and industrial control systems exponentially. These systems have historically been siloed from IT, making it difficult to even know what assets exist and impossible to clearly identify security risks in the environment. IT/OT discovery and dependency mapping can provide ongoing visibility into the assets, applications and systems within OT environments.
After gaining visibility of the assets and dependencies of the collective IT/OT estate, manufacturers need to evaluate security controls, processes and risks against company and industry standards, regulations and best practices. This can be accomplished with a go-forward strategy that documents, prioritizes and remediates cyber deficiencies.
Third-party vendors are becoming increasingly necessary as manufacturers digitize production lines and supply chains. Cyber attackers know that one of the easiest ways to infiltrate a manufacturing estate is by first gaining access to a third party. Third-party and external surface mapping can alert manufacturers to compromised vendors as well as weaknesses in existing security architectures that pose a risk of external attacks.
Manufacturing processes have traditionally focused more on safety and quality than guarding against a security breach. But cyberattacks today pose as great a risk to worker safety as oversights on the plant floor. By adopting cyber safety as a core business principle, manufacturers can bake cybersecurity into processes across the organization.