Shell Works with Yokogawa and Cisco on a Unified Cybersecurity Approach

Feb. 11, 2015
The three companies will implement the joint SecurePlant initiative at about 50 Shell plants over the next three years to standardize cybersecurity measures for the global oil producer.

Cybersecurity has become a seemingly insurmountable problem across all industries; nobody is immune. Highly publicized security breaches at such businesses as Target, Home Depot and Sony Pictures have made it clear that companies can no longer treat cybersecurity as lightly as they have been. Calling the Sony attack a “game changer,” the White House today even announced the creation of an intelligence unit dedicated to coordinating a defense against cyber threats in the U.S.

Once trusting matters of cybersecurity to a plant-by-plant approach, as is common with global producers, Shell has realized the need to standardize security practices around the world and minimize control system vulnerability. With the collaborative help of Yokogawa Electric and Cisco Systems, Shell’s SecurePlant initiative has been developed as a comprehensive security management solution for plant control systems. The three companies together will implement SecurePlant at about 50 Shell plants globally over the next three years, with managed services continuing at least through the next eight years, according to Chiaki Itoh, vice president of industrial automation marketing for Yokogawa.

Itoh made the announcement today as a highlight of Yokogawa’s press conference at the ARC World Industry Forum in Orlando, pointing in particular to the strategic alliance between operational technology (OT) and information technology (IT), and its importance for the Internet of Things (IoT).

“The value and benefits with this collaboration that we bring to the market are enhancement of security and compliance through a centralized asset management, and proactive monitoring capabilities to help customers in making passive decisions leading to a reduction of total cost of ownership for the customers,” Itoh said.

Most companies with global operations still take a relatively simple plant-by-plant approach to implementing security patches or antivirus updates, for example, resulting in security levels that tend to vary from plant to plant. Also, since plants tend to use a variety of control systems and equipment from different vendors, the management of those security patches and antivirus files is further complicated.

SecurePlant is designed as a standard solution that consists of the delivery of OS patches and antivirus pattern files for control systems. They are distributed from a SecureCenter to the SecureSite at each plant via Shell’s existing global network. Real-time and proactive monitoring capabilities enable the centralized management of plant security, and a customer help desk operated jointly by Yokogawa and Cisco manage solution-related incidents 24/7/365.

The services will be available to other customers as well, and are applicable to plants of all sizes in a wide variety of industries, to “improve operational resilience in the connected IoT world,” Itoh said. “Yokogawa is extending these secured remote solutions to other customers in the industrial market by the continued collaboration with Cisco. Cisco will provide a secured and controlled remote access platform with proactive security services. Yokogawa will continue delivering operational technology solutions on top of this platform to meet industrial needs.”

Integrating its technologies with Cisco’s, Yokogawa can handle mission-critical system applications with the use of various types of wireless and wired intelligent sensors and data, Itoh said. “We believe IT/OT integration is accelerating high-efficient operations with flexibility and adaptability, and improves operational resilience.”

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