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October 25, 2018 Marketing

TechHub: What’s New in iFIX 6.0, CISOs on Cybersecurity, APM Toolset

5 Top New Features in iFIX 6.0 from GE Digital

GE Digital is rolling out iFIX 6.0 to help operators improve productivity with active decision support and high-performance visualizations.

Here are some of the new or upgraded features:

iFIX 6.0

iFIX 6.0 by GE Digital

  • Supports International Society of Automation’s (ISA) 18.2 alarm shelving. Operators can temporarily suppress alarms; create up to 20 shelving policies; and automatically unshelve alarms when shelve duration time expires.
  • Offers OPC Unified Architecture (UA) server for secure-by-design client connections and leverages other secure standards such as digital certificates and web tokens.
  • Features support for long tag name and descriptions so operators won’t have to abbreviate names and can enter more in-depth explanations.
  • Domain caching to improve network connectivity
  • Support for the latest Microsoft OS

‘Now my unofficial title is chief cloud enablement officer’

At the Three Rivers Information Security Symposium near Pittsburgh last week, a panel of Chief Information Security Officers from higher education, healthcare, energy, banking and other industries discussed how to persuade decision-makers to invest in cybersecurity, the emergence of ransomware attacks developed by nation states and controlling access to the cloud.

All of the panelists emphasized educating colleagues – regardless of their spot on the organizational chart – about the need to protect sensitive data and stay vigilant against targeted cyber attacks such as phishing and e-mail impersonation attempts.


Three Rivers Information Security Symposium held a CISO panel discussion on Thursday, Oct. 18, 2018, in Monroeville. Credit: Dana Ruske Photography

Traditionally, some large companies have had restrictive policies regarding social media platforms and cloud-based technologies, but that’s changing, said James Ringold of Westinghouse Electric, one of the panelists.

“Up until this year we were very anti-cloud. Now my unofficial title is the chief cloud enablement officer,” Ringold said. “How can we get to the cloud, and how can we do it securely under regulatory requirements and things like that. So it’s ever-evolving and the threats continuously change and we continue to adapt to those threats.”

Omar Khawaja of Highmark Health, which manages millions of patient records, said he believes the healthcare industry contends with more cybersecurity-related breaches than any other sector.

“It also turns out that ransomware hits healthcare more than any other sector,” he said.

Beyond ransomware, Khawaja said a few years ago his team set out to define the forces affecting its security program.

“We identified four forces.”

  1. Human error
  2. Cyber threats
  3. Regulatory Environment
  4. Evolving business and technology needs

As for the cloud, Khawaja said it’s important to evaluate the type of data potentially moving to the cloud, its business value, the risk level, the consequences of a breach and the controls in place.

“The location, the geography, the vendor, none of those things matter, what really matters is: Are the controls sufficient? And if they are then, great, we’ll move to the cloud every day,” he said.

Trebor Z. Evans of Dollar Bank said his company has been cloud-averse, but “we can’t continue that way and stay competitive.”

Evans said he and his team are assessing the risks of moving information to the cloud. He is trying to help executives realize that just because a web services provider has security, a secure environment isn’t a guarantee.

From a company culture standpoint, Evans said he stresses to managers at this company that his team’s security measures should be viewed as a “business enabler,” not a barrier.

“It is my mantra,” Evans said. “So (it’s about) looking at that and working with senior management to understand their goals and where they want to go, making sure that I can be a part of that, but securely.”

Tom Dugas of Duquesne University said institutions of higher education are tasked with offering students and faculty both a secure but open and free system in which they can share research and educational resources.

He said the university contends with a constant onslaught of intrusion attempts because of how many students require access to its network.

“From the threat landscape, we’re in this quasi position where we need to protect the institutional assets of the university, which happens to be the information of our people, the research we produce and the actual educational, scholarly materials that we collect,” he said.

For more information about the symposium: threeriversinfosec.com.

Are you getting the most out of your Asset Performance Management system?

Asset Performance Management (APM) is all about improving the reliability of your company’s physical assets while reducing risk and operating costs.

“APM is a really holistic solution,” says Paul Casto, GrayMatter’s Intelligent Assets Practice Leader. “There are many different solutions out there, but APM sits on a foundation that allows you to configure it based on your needs.”APM

APM typically includes condition monitoring, predictive maintenance, asset integrity management, reliability-centered maintenance, and often involves technologies such as asset health data collection, visualization, machine learning and analytics.

To help break down the details of APM, Paul created a “toolset” to demonstrate its value.

The APM Toolset

Failure modes have different mechanics of failure and different time scales and failure patterns. The nature of failure modes can dictate the APM tool (technology) to use and what assets to use it on.

Failure Driven Strategies

The first APM tool involves identifying failure modes, performing failure analysis and developing maintenance and reliability tasks to mitigate the risk of equipment failures.

These tasks are executed as preventive maintenance, predictive maintenance, inspections, condition monitoring, etc. Collectively, they form the asset strategy.

Surveillance Technology

Surveillance technologies leverage the human senses and experiential knowledge of operators and technicians. They are effectively applied by identifying all leading indicators of failure modes that the operator or technician can find through inspection.

Asset Health Management

Asset Performance Management is the overarching approach to strategies focused on failure modes. AHM uses equipment information, processed using specific engineering rules, to make decisions related to safety, condition-based maintenance, leading indicators of failure modes and the presence of equipment degradation mechanisms to extend equipment life.

Click to learn more about the APM Toolset and incorporating machine learning into your approach.