Q&A with Lucas Kane: A Modern Approach to Securing Critical Control Networks

You have a smart phone. Obviously. But is your case artful and reflective of your personality? You’re on LinkedIn and social media. Of course. But have you stretched into Snapchat and tried Periscoping live?

You’ve read the articles on growing cyber security threats. No question. But have you truly researched the most effective ways to protect your business?cyber pic 3

We have and found one that’s pretty hip.

Gray Matter Systems is announcing a brand new solution to help industrial operations teams and IT departments effectively cloak and protect critical infrastructure, assets, and information to minimize exposure to cyber-security threats. It’s called the HIPApp.

HIP stands for Host, Identity and Protocol.

Today we’re getting the real story on what the HIPApp is and how it works from our partners at Tempered Networks. They gave us the inside information during an interview with their Director of Product Management, Lucas Kane.

Q: First question, Lucas – What does HIPApp stand for and what’s the naming significance?

LK: The HIPApp is a native application for Windows 7 & 10 machines. Installing a HIPApp embeds a cryptographic identity on the Windows machine and the identity can then be verified (and managed) by a Conductor.

A Conductor admin can then add the HIPApp (and therefore the Windows machine) into overlay networks and whitelist the HIPApp/Windows machine, enabling a laptop, for example, to securely communicate with protected devices that reside in Overlay networks.

Q: In simplest terms, what does the HIPApp do?

LK: The HIPApp embeds a virtual HIPswitch onto a Windows 7 or 10 machine. Once installed, the HIPApp will appear in the Conductor UI and can be managed in the same way that a HIPswitch protected device is managed.

Q: What’s the biggest mistake companies make right now when it comes to cyber security?

(LK) – Relying on perimeter security as the instrument for securing critical assets and segmenting networks.

Q: How do you recommend companies solve this issue?

LK: We recommend that companies use a defense in depth approach that micro-segments their networks, facilitates end-to-end encryption, cloaks the devices on their WAN/LAN infrastructure networks and is easy to manage at scale.

Q: How is HIPApp different from other cyber security solutions?

LK: The HIPApp extends the footprint of the Tempered Networks solution. Windows 7 & 10 machines can now participate in Overlay networks. The difference between traditional security solutions and the Tempered solution is the ease of management at scale.

While the Tempered solution facilitates segmentation, end-to-end encryption, automated PKI, device base whitelisting and device cloaking, it does not require traditional security solution expertise and is easy to manage even at enterprise scale.

Q: Secure networking is so complex, how does HIPApp make it easier?

LK: The Tempered solution simplifies security as our intuitive Conductor user interface facilitates single-pane-of-glass management of all HIPservices and protected devices.

Overall:

  • The simplicity of the Tempered solution reduces the risk of misconfiguration
  • The Tempered solution facilitates orchestration of a large number of devices and HIPservices
  • The Tempered solution leverages device-based whitelisting so devices cannot communicate until they are specifically allowed to communicate. This is a reverse approach to traditional security solutions.

Q: Is there a savings and how?

LK: The Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) of the Tempered solution is significantly less than traditional security solutions.

The upfront cost of our physical, virtual and cloud HIPswitches and Conductors is on par with traditional solutions, however, the time to deploy and manage the Tempered solution is significantly reduced when compared side-by-side with traditional security solutions.

Q:What’s your favorite feature of the new solution?

LK: The HIPApp, the API and the Visual Trust Maps

Thanks to Lucas Kane from Tempered Networks for bringing us up to speed on the latest solutions in cyber security.

If this conversation with Lucas made sense to you, why not hear from Tempered Networks live at our annual user group conference in Put-in-Bay, OH?

Join their session, “A Modern Approach to Securing Critical Control Networks and Endpoints” to learn more about connecting and protecting new and legacy devices, while increasing visibility into your vital systems.

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Oil Insider: Top Three Issues in the Boardroom

Oil Insider: Top 3 Issues in the Boardroom from Gray Matter Systems on Vimeo.

It’s Go Time

Pricing in the oil and gas industry is extremely volatile.

It’s leaving industry decision makers with little time to lose. They need the right technology, in the right place, immediately. Their people have to be better at their jobs today than they were yesterday. Every decision counts and if one move is a few days late, it could cost millions.

Unlocking Dollars

Gray Matter Systems CEO, Jim Gillespie is familiar with helping oil and gas executives to solve the biggest problems facing their companies. He says the first issue circulating in oil and gas boardrooms everywhere is getting data from many different sources all on one display. It’s commonly referred to as the “single pane of glass.” boardroom

The information matrix is so complex now that in order to monitor performance, you have to connect streams from clouds, data centers and mobile users.

Finding the money “that’s locked up in there” is key according to Gillespie.

When the data from all systems is integrated, operators and engineers are empowered to see everything at once. The single view allows them to make better decisions, increase response time to problems and improve the overall workflow.

This shift ultimately leads to big savings on operational costs because companies are no longer wasting time operating in silos. The knowledge management tools to bring data together give key players in the oil industry the ability to know which assets are stronger, which alarms are false and the best practices moving forward.

The idea behind the single pane of glass is simply to make the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) easier for people to manage.

Want to know more about single pane of glass?

Join Kemell Kassim, VP of Energy at Gray Matter Systems, as he details creating a single pane of glass view into operations at our Oil & Gas Seminars in Dallas, Houston and Pittsburgh this month. Dr. Steven Fleischmann, a global expert in risk across a broad range of industries including energy and advanced technology, will also be on hand to discuss reducing operational costs.

Protecting the Underbelly

Effective cyber security is no longer a choice. It’s required.

That’s why it’s in the top three priorities of oil and gas executives. Surprisingly, the risks here are not always technology or equipment, in many cases they’re people.

Knowing what to do when attacks happen and the making the right, immediate decision is half the battle.

The other challenge is keeping networks up to date. The network may be safe one day and then six months later, new configurations have exposed the system to different threats.

Figuring out how to protect the soft underbelly of their (oils and gas companies) operations systems – the threat detection, the bad actors, cloaking those devices from malware and other threats – it’s a big issue today.

James Gillespie

Operational technology security has advanced to cater to customers unique needs and operating environments. It’s different than information technology security. Protecting OT control systems involves special care to make sure production isn’t disrupted by the shields put in place.

Industrial process control systems, remote assets and remote means of communication are three areas where risk protection is needed. Improving firewall policies, securing operating equipment and making sure operators know how to manage attacks are all ways companies are looking to protect themselves.

Predicting the Future

The final hot topic is optimization and predictive maintenance in all of those data issues, according to Gillespie.

The discussion around predictive analytics has become more intense recently. As the workforce tightens and efficiencies become more important, using a company’s data streams to help predict future outcomes becomes vital to success.

The ability to understand the health of an asset or machine is huge. When you have advanced warning about a problem, you can act and avoid disruption to production. Knowing when maintenance is needed reduces cost by allowing the fix before the failure.

Real time data and analytics tools are plugging into the industrial internet to create smart machines. Predictive maintenance cuts costs in several ways. First, overall maintenance costs go down when trouble is stopped before it grows. Then, the smoother flow allows delivery times to become much more predictable. Ultimately, leading to maximized oil and gas production.

The oil and gas industry is going through a transformative period. Smart, strategic judgement is needed. Making sense of the information you have, protecting the system from threats and effectively predicting roadblocks will all help to reduce costs and increase productivity during this dramatically changing time.

The trends we see in the marketplace right now are the proliferation of all the connected assets and the information overload that this creates.

James Gillespie

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