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With big data comes big responsibility

March 18, 2015

With connectivity playing an increasingly important role in material handling, what steps does Konecranes take to help ensure the security of information it collects concerning its customers’ operations and processes?

The ability to diagnose and even correct equipment faults remotely is a powerful tool for reducing equipment downtime. In the industries in which Konecranes’ customers operate, this is great news, as a machine  failure – as with any failure at any single point in the process chain – can have significant economic impact.

Data connectivity in the industrial context provides significant benefits. For example, it enables customers to monitor and diagnose their equipment’s usage and condition. To be able to predict when a fault will occur based on actual component status – rather than simply waiting until a component fails – is a great way to stay one step ahead. Early warnings allow repair or replacement  before any problems occur.

 

The top-down view

But the upsides don’t end there.Time is money, after all, and solutions like TRUCONNECT automatically provide meaningful information on where time is being wasted in your processes. 

This in-depth process knowledge, which details machine running time and operator activity, helps with one-off fault correction. It can also give facility operators insight  into the  reasons for other instances of  downtime helping them enhance the efficiency of machines and processes. Essentially,connectivity solutions help to deliver the big picture.

But in general visibility over both machine operations and  processes brings risks. Because the data that enables all these benefits  provides detailed information on customer operations, privacy is a natural  requirement for companies and must be assured.

Security is vital

Konecranes understands how important information security is for customers and makes security a top priority when designing and developing data connectivity solutions. Carefully controlling access to these tools and the information they provide is crucial. But how is this done in practice?

Ari Kuukka, Manager of Remote Delivery, Product and Services Development at Konecranes gives us an idea of what is required to preserve data security.

“Both the technical and process aspects of a solution’s security must be planned and managed properly to guarantee data security,” he says. “As designers of solutions, we have to be conscious of the risks posed by viruses, hackers and all other relevant online threats. The key tools we have to respond to these are effective isolation of connectivity and careful authorization over who can access the equipment.”

 

“Data is never transmitted over unprotected links,” he continues, “and access to the data is governed with sophisticated authorization processes.”

Upholding best practices

“In our solutions, we follow the IT industry’s best practices for information security to the letter,”  Kuukka adds. These mainstays, used to effectively protect customer equipment, include anti-virus solutions, connectivity monitoring and a full audit trail. “In addition, connectivity to the customer’s equipment is strictly isolated both externally and internally.” This isolation helps to ensure that only authorized users ever have the opportunity to access solution-specific data.

It’s interesting  to note that while big data has suffered alarming birth pangs in  certain areas, with security lapses in personal data making headlines, no major  incidents have been reported in the industrial sector. This is a situation Konecranes, for one, aims to preserve.

 

Expert spotlight:

Ari Kuukka

Manager, Remote Delivery, Product and Services Development, Konecranes

Ari Kuukka manages the operations of Konecranes’ Remote Service products’ IT infrastructure, along with its remote connections network, which consists of several thousands of remote devices at customer premises around the world.