Experimenting with Low-Cost Edge Devices

March 18, 2024
How to maintain critical processes at the plant level while leveraging cloud resources for non-essential tasks, ensuring operational continuity and mitigating risks associated with network dependencies and outages.

In deciding what data processing applications should stay on site versus running in the cloud, Control reported that Interstates and its CPG client follow a structured approach based on the criticality of the process, network connectivity requirements and risk management considerations:

  1. Criticality of the Process: If a workload or process is essential for production to run safely under normal conditions, it should happen at the plant level. This ensures that critical processes are not dependent on external factors like WAN connectivity, which could disrupt operations and pose safety risks.
  2. Network Connectivity: Processes that require constant communication with on-site hardware, such as PLCs, should remain at the plant level. Running these processes in the cloud could introduce dependencies on WAN connections, increasing the risk of disruptions and potentially compromising product quality and safety.
  3. Risk Management: By keeping essential processes and data processing applications on site, the client mitigates the risk of outages and network failures. Standardizing OT computing infrastructure at the plant level allows for more predictable and auditable access control, reducing the risk footprint and providing a clearer path to remediating vulnerabilities.

By implementing Interstates' drop-in OT computing solution, the CPG client benefits from:

  • Standardization: Standardizing hardware and software deployments across facilities simplifies management and licensing tasks, making it easier to configure, maintain, and operate processes.
  • Improved Cybersecurity: Standardization reduces the risk footprint and enhances cybersecurity by implementing consistent security measures across all sites.
  • Centralized Support: Centralizing support for server infrastructure maintenance allows plant personnel to focus on their core responsibilities, enhancing operational efficiency.
  • Reduced Complexity: Consolidating server models and standardizing procedures streamline operations, reducing overall security exposure and simplifying updates and maintenance tasks.

Read the full story from partner publication Control here.

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