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April 6, 2020 Jeremy Boren

Procter & Gamble, Nestle, Hustle to Meet Demand, Remote Work Security, April Full of Virtual Training

Procter & Gamble’s Largest U.S. Plant Makes Masks, Paper Products On the Double in Rural PA

Procter & Gamble’s largest U.S. manufacturing plant — situated in a rural, eastern Pennsylvania community — is adding protective face masks to its normal production of paper towels, napkins, Pampers and Luvs diapers and Charmin toilet paper, according to Yahoo News.

P&G is working to meet unprecedented demand for its products as Americans stock up to spend weeks in self-quarantine during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Though the plant is busy, with trucks lining up for miles to pick up materials for shipment in some cases, P&G spokeswoman Loren Fanroy said the company is following social distancing protocols and conducting extra cleaning.

“Where employees are present in our facilities, we have distanced operating teams and eliminated meetings or events that congregate groups of people. We have constant sanitization of all areas, including cleaning every four hours and surface disinfection, exceeding the most rigorous standards as defined by the health authorities,” Fanroy said.

Prioritizing Edge Computing Security Key to Growing Remote Workforce

Cybersecurity for edge computing is a huge topic right now as remote workforces expand to slow the spread of the coronavirus outbreak.

GrayMatter Cybersecurity Lead Scott Christensen interviewed with Sid Snitkin of the ARC Advisory Group about edge security, major threats and how industrial operations can improve their security postures.

“Cybersecurity is moving away from being an disabler, where we say, ‘I don’t allow you to do things,’ to enabling you to do it in a risk-averse way,” Christensen said.

Q: What can you do to help industries like energy, oil & gas improve their cybersecurity posture?

Scott: “It’s an interesting dynamic. There’s a heavy investment in cybersecurity on the IT side of the house, where a lot of the cost center is…but we don’t seem to focus as much on protecting the assets that generate our revenue. We’re seeing people starting to realize that.

There’s been a transition to develop maturity onto the OT side of the house. A few years ago, OT wasn’t even coined as a phrase.”

Q: How are you dealing with demand for edge security?

Scott: “Cybersecurity is moving away from being an disabler, where we say, ‘I don’t allow you to do things,’ to enabling you to do it in a risk-averse way.

A lot of the things we’re doing is allowing them to get the analytics they need, the data they need, the valuable efficiencies, but doing it in a secure way.

Making sure we’re transmitting data in the right way and enabling the digital transformation that our companies are going through.”

Q: What are the major threats to companies in the OT world? 

Scott: “We’re seeing ransomware affect both sides of the house. It’s no longer an OT problem or an IT problem. It’s across the board, and it doesn’t care what it’s encrypting; it just wants to encrypt everything.

We’re also starting to see a lot more of unintentional, internal threat actors. People not following best practices about shared passwords, Post-It notes with passwords on the console, and things like that.

One of the first things we do during a risk assessment is look for passwords on white boards and sticky notes. It’s the most common way exposures happen.”

Check out the the full video interview.

For more on remote work:

GrayMatter’s Alan Hinchman hosted a Fast 15 LinkedInLive discussion, which happens every Thursday at 2 p.m.

Home Baking is On the Rise During Quarantine

People are baking at home as they find ways to make life in self-quarantine a little sweeter, says Nestle CEO Steve Presley, according to Yahoo Finance.

Demand for chocolate bars, baking ingredients and frozen pizzas has been surging.

Nestle isn’t alone.

Food producers Conagra, General Mills and Hormel are all reporting strong demand.

“Total U.S. food and beverage sales surged 50.8% year-over-year for the week ended March 22, according to data from IRI,” Yahoo reports. “The three categories that drove the biggest early sales increases in March include packaged foods (up 32% year-over-year), frozen foods (up 27%) and dairy (up 26%).

“We have such a broad portfolio in the U.S. we see spikes across all of our businesses really with the exception being the out of home business obviously,” Presley said.

April is Full of Virtual Learning Events from GrayMatter

Check out GrayMatter’s Events and Training page for details about a number of upcoming virtual learning opportunities this month kicking off with the latest emPOWERUP series event at 9 p.m. ET Tuesday, April 7.

• April 7 – emPOWERUP.virtual – 9 a.m. ET

• April 14, 16, 22 & 23 – The 4 Defense-in-Depth Tactics Industrial Cybersecurity Pros Should Know – 2 p.m. ET

• April 21 – Advanced Industrial Analytics Webinar – 2 p.m. ET

• April 30 – Accelerate.virtual – GrayMatter’s Online Leadership Summit – 11 a.m. ET

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Jeremy Boren

Jeremy is GrayMatter's Brand Manager and the author of TechHub and the emPOWERUP Podcast. He writes about digital solutions, trends and culture in the world of operational technology. Jeremy's background is in daily journalism. He has a passion for storytelling and enjoys highlighting the technologies and professionals taking on complex challenges in manufacturing, energy, cybersecurity and infrastructure.