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    Trust in IIoT data declines, according to survey

    In the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) era, data is king, but it also has to be reliable. However, businesses don’t trust their data, according to a survey by Experian Data Quality. This is crucial because data supports major business initiatives. The level of data accuracy, however, appears lower, and without trusted data, quality decisions cannot occur.

    Businesses leverage data to increase revenue and better serve their customers. Along those lines, 84% of U.S. organizations said they believe data is an integral part of forming a business strategy. However, organizations lack confidence in their data. On average, businesses believe 27% of their data is inaccurate, and the C-suite estimates error levels to be even higher, the report said.

    It seems hard to believe, but 52% of organizations rely on educated guesses or gut feelings to make decisions based on their data. While businesses are starting to make strides in improving the issue, many of the efforts end up based in departmental silos and lack consistency across data sources. This is due, in part, to the difficulty of building a compelling business case for an enterprise-wide data quality program.

    The study, which polled more than 1,400 data professionals across eight countries around the globe, showed organizations struggle with inconsistent, legacy data management practices. Also, the survey found 82% of organizations have less than optimum data management practices, leaving significant room for improvement.

    A big challenge is existing data management strategies end up based on individual departmental silos or sit primarily within information technology (IT) organizations. However, data usage is shifting out of IT and into the business units. In fact, 70% of organizations globally believe the responsibility for ongoing data quality ultimately should lie with the business, with occasional help from IT. Other key findings from the survey include:

    • 62% of organizations said the IT department has the greatest influence on how data ends up handled.
    • 73% of C-level executives said inaccurate data is undermining their ability to provide an excellent customer experience.
    • 85% of organizations globally experienced more timely and personalized customer communications as a result of improving their data quality solution.

    Gregory Hale is the editor and founder of Industrial Safety and Security Source (ISSSource.com), a news and information Website covering safety and security issues in the manufacturing automation sector. This content originally appeared on ISSSource.com. Edited by Chris Vavra, production editor, CFE Media, Control Engineeringcvavra@cfemedia.com.

    ONLINE extra 

    See additional stories from ISSSource about the IIoT linked below.

    View the original article and related content on Control Engineering

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    IIoT’s emergence just a matter of when

    This will be remembered as the year that the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) grew up. After so many years of predictions, distractions and industry coaxing, IIoT arrived in 2017. As I look at developments across the industry I see more and more IIoT strategies in progress, with investments being made in infrastructure, technology and skills, and exciting returns being reported on initial projects.

    Just as significantly, I see vendors and other industry experts coalescing to build end-to-end solutions that will make IIoT easier to deploy and quicker to yield a return. With so many positive developments, I’m confident IIoT will lie at the heart of every manufacturing facility in 10 years’ time.

    My optimism is underscored by a recent survey of 200 manufacturing executives conducted by KRC Research for Honeywell in which nearly 70% of respondents said they plan to invest additional resources in IIoT and data analytics technology in 2017. What’s driving this desire is the cumulative strategic and financial value of their problems: downtime and related losses in efficiency, inadequate staffing, off-spec production and supply chain inefficiencies. They all add up.

    IIoT now is acknowledged by industrial manufacturers as having the capability to resolve each of these challenges. So it’s not a question of will the Internet transform process manufacturing—it’s a question of when.

    One reason for the growing enthusiasm in IIoT is the powerful data it brings together. The majority of survey respondents believe that data analytics will resolve age-old problems such as equipment breakdowns, unscheduled process disruption and supply chain management issues. These figures are telling in terms of where IIoT investments and deployments will be made in 2017 and beyond.

    Taking the first steps

    As a first step, many early adopters implemented digitization campaigns. Most are reporting excellent early results to the tune of multi-million dollars in savings. For example, mineral processing companies have centralized their process knowledge and provided collaborative support to remote locations; refineries have increased overall equipment effectiveness by up to two percent; chemical companies have reduced inventories and improved customer responsiveness; and paper companies have solved key knowledge retention issues.

    However, for all the success of these pilot projects, there remains a significant number of manufacturers standing still. Indeed, the survey revealed that some respondents are pressing ahead without a data analytics-led IIoT strategy or are not planning to invest in data analytics in the next year.

    Their reasons include a lack of understanding of the benefits of data analytics and inadequate resources—specifically, people with data analytics expertise. And disconcertingly, while these companies put off decisions about IIoT, many are working their plants harder than they should: the survey found many respondents feel pressured to continue working under the threat of unscheduled downtime and equipment breakdowns to maximize revenue.

    These companies are fighting a battle against time and will start to lag as their competitors surge ahead. The fact that many remain unmoved by IIoT underscores the importance of continued industry education. Many still feel that IIoT requires a sudden and wholesale change in their business. It doesn’t; it can be phased and scaled to a company’s circumstances. IIoT should be viewed as an evolution, not a revolution.

    One trend that I believe will have a positive influence over those still undecided is increased partnership among industry vendors, process licensors, equipment experts and consultants to provide joined-up technology solutions that will ease and speed adoption and provide innovative solutions to industrial problems previously thought to be unsolvable. Just imagine if you could collect, display, analyze and react to plant information by purchasing a solution virtually off the shelf? Or imagine benefitting from whatever data analytics expertise you need without having to hire a team of data scientists?

    Cloud-based forums of experts have the potential to deliver advice and assistance, whenever or wherever it is needed. Innovative and flexible offerings such as these are becoming available now through closer industry cooperation. The reality is no one vendor can do everything, and some are better at some things than others, and therefore need one another to address remaining barriers and gaps, working together to make IIoT more accessible to the industry.

    Despite the remaining skepticism, IIoT is in a very different place in 2017 than it was a year ago. Pilot projects are everywhere and are showing promising early results while momentum builds through industry partnerships. Our research shows that we’re at the tipping point toward mainstream adoption. IIoT has finally grown up.

    Shree Dandekar is vice president and general manager for Honeywell Connected Plant.

    View the original article and related content on Plant Engineering

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    Three steps for securing your IoT system

    When it comes to suffering a data breach as a result of poor Internet of Things (IoT) security, the stakes have never been higher. The EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is just on the horizon and with it will come staggering fines for organizations that fall victim to the theft of customer data-up to €20 million or 5% of turnover, whichever is highest.

    While last year’s Mirai DDos attack demonstrated how hackers could use hundreds of thousands of internet-connected devices infected with malicious code to take down websites in the U.S. and Europe, more attention needs to be paid to just how dangerous badly-protected IoT device can be.

    In fact, some security experts are suggesting that if we don’t drastically change approaches to IoT security, IoT might just as well stand for "internet of threats," or even, the "insecurity of things." Clearly, companies need to do more to ensure that a proliferation of connected devices on the edge of their networks doesn’t compromise the security of internal information technology (IT) systems.

    Three steps to better IoT security

    The concept of "security by design" is a crucial component when it comes to the creation of IoT-connect devices. Any piece of IoT technology, whether it’s for business or consumer use, should be created with security as a fundamental component. What’s more, companies need to be aware of the technology solutions out there that are designed to protect IT systems and devices from security breaches. But looking beyond this, there are three simple steps that every company should be taking to protect their IoT systems.

    1. Choose the providers of IoT devices carefully

    It is critical to do due diligence when choosing an IoT device provider. Ensure it is a well-known and reliable supplier, likely to be around for the long term. IoT devices need to be updated regularly, especially when a new security flaw is discovered. If you bought from a company that has gone bust, you’ll end up with a device that is basically useless. Buy from a manufacturer that will be around for years to come so they can provide patches and fixes to any security bugs that may arise and in a timely fashion.

    2. Invest in a network analysis tool

    It is not enough, though, to just rely on suppliers. It is also important to invest in a network analysis tool to monitor activity and quickly identify potential security issues. Not doing so runs the risk of missing instances of information being accessed without permission or at unexpected times. These signs can point to a breach of your IT system through IoT devices.

    3. Make network management protocols a priority

    Connected devices often come with an in-built protocol from the manufacturer that will allow you to monitor internal activity-but this often isn’t enough if you’re looking for robust security. For businesses, it is crucial to choose IoT devices that support simple network management protocols (SNMP), the worldwide standard for network management, allowing them to be monitored by intrusion detection and prevention systems. This way, you will have more detailed and comprehensive monitoring and analysis of a device, and be able to pick up on any unauthorized attempts to access it.

    Security can’t be an afterthought

    At the end of the day, the number of IoT security breaches is only going to grow. As such, securing connected devices can no longer be treated as an afterthought. If we’re ever going to realize the full potential of the technology, companies need to ensure they’ve made security a priority from the very beginning.

    George Smyth is director of R&D software at Rocket Software. This article originally appeared on Internet of Business, a CFE Media content partner. Edited by Chris Vavra, production editor, Control Engineering, CFE Media, cvavra@cfemedia.com.

    View the original article and related content on Control Engineering

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