A connected industry demands a more secure industry, and Honeywell—like most automation suppliers—continues to look for ways to build that security more firmly into its repertoire. Its latest move is to bring Nextnine into the fold, signing a definitive agreement to purchase the privately held industrial cybersecurity provider.
Cybersecurity was a central theme at last year’s Honeywell Users Group (HUG) Americas, essential as Honeywell pushed its “IIoT Ready” agenda. The automation supplier’s purchase of Nextnine will no doubt help to shape the cybersecurity narrative at this year’s HUG conference as well, taking place next week in San Antonio, Texas.
Honeywell Process Solutions (HPS) will continue to perfect cybersecurity for its customers, “whether we build our products natively secure or add more layers of protection,” noted Vimal Kapur, HPS president, during last year’s event.
Nextnine falls within the latter category, its flagship ICS Shield securing remote field assets from a single operations center. In its current form—used at more than 6,200 sites globally across the oil and gas, utility, chemical, mining and manufacturing sectors—ICS Shield had to be deployed separately for each control system vendor, resulting in multiple and separate installations at a single customer site. With this acquisition, Honeywell’s multi-vendor background will enable it to be deployed and operated as a single system, thereby simplifying and better securing an entire site.
“Each day, the number of attempted cyber attacks on industrial facilities and critical infrastructure around the world increases,” Kapur said. “This acquisition shows our ongoing commitment to providing our customers with a comprehensive portfolio of cybersecurity solutions to protect and defend their industrial control systems and process control networks.”
Nextnine will also be a key enabler for the Honeywell Connected Plant, an initiative that HPS has been touting heavily this past year. Cybersecurity is, of course, a critical part of that program. Nextnine’s offerings will enhance Honeywell’s existing products and services, including Risk Manager and Secure Media Exchange, as well as the research capabilities at its Industrial Cyber Security Lab in the Atlanta area.