With COVID-19 and the lock-down, we are working from home. The question is how can we implement a safe architecture when remote working becomes the new normal?
Right now operators don’t always allow employees to access their plant automation & IT systems from their home location.
Besides the cybersecurity there is another challenge: how can we operate and maintain against lower OPEX due to the low oil prices? We see a trend that the management of Energy Companies encourages their IT departments to implement for remote access. The Management of Energy Companies have to cut maintenance cost and reduce manpower due to the oil crisis.
Remote monitoring, remote maintenance, remote diagnostics/validation/calibration will help operators to reduce manpower and OPEX and going from problem-solving to preventing problems.
The picture below shows an architecture on how to implement a cyber secured solution where plant automation/IT systems are connected to the business enterprise level. Typical configuration with a DMZ (De-Militarized Zone). The data flows only one direction from the plant level to the DMZ. The enterprise-level can only read data from the DMZ. Nothing can go back from the enterprise level to the DMZ and plant level.
There are also other solutions possible as well.
Hint AML is a real-time Asset Management and Laboratory system for process and laboratory analyzers, flow meters, and other field instruments. AML I/O collects all real-time data from the plant level and pushed it into the DMZ. The AML application on the Plant level executes automatic validation and grabs all advanced diagnostics, operational states, the process data from field instruments. AML enterprise is a web-based application installed on a web server on the enterprise network or (private) cloud which pulls data from the DMZ to the enterprise level (one-way & safe). AML enterprise is visualizing real-time data coming (Via the DMZ) from multiple plants & instruments, running statistical analysis and reports, data analytics & quality control, and having AI algorithms in place going to transform your organization from problem-solving to preventing problems.