Take a Self-Assessment for ICS Cyber Security Risk

Here’s the situation – industrial security is a hot topic today and management has decided to assign you the task to assess and come up with an action plan to protect the company from… well, they didn’t specify.

Perhaps some budget support has been provided for this task and perhaps not. Regardless of budget, it is understood that the priority is to keep production running while you put your plan into action.

Doing Nothing? Not an Option

Try the following industrial security self-assessment as a start for cyber security risk at your organization. While it isn’t for everyone, it’s a great starting point for your business. Taking action here may just help your company avoid some serious security incidents.

  1. Determine Who Should Help with the Assessment
  2. Identify the Critical Assets
  3. Prioritize and List the Largest Risks for Each Asset
  4. Prioritize the List of Industrial Security Assets
  5. Determine and Rate Existing Protection Measures

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Making Ethernet a Viable Option to Control Stage Lighting

Imagine what it would be like attending a concert or a live theater performance without a coordinated light show. How would that impact the experience? With the amazing effects that can be achieved thanks to advancements in lighting over the past decade, it would not be nearly the same.

Years ago, most lighting systems communicated using proprietary serial protocols. This made interoperability between different OEM’s equipment problematic and often impossible. To rectify this situation, the lighting industry got together and agreed that one common standard digital protocol must be created.

The Road to Standardization in Theater and Stage Lighting – DMX512 & DM512-A

DMX512 is a standard for digital communication networks commonly used to control stage lighting and effects; it was originally intended as a standardized method for controlling light dimmers. Developed by the United States Institute for Theatre Technology (USITT) Engineering Commission, the DMX512 standard (for “digital multiplex with 512 pieces of information”) was created in 1986, with subsequent revisions in 1990 leading to USITT DMX512/1990.

DMX512-A – In 1998, the Entertainment Services and Technology Association (ESTA) began a revision process to develop DMX512 as an ANSI standard. The resulting revised standard, known officially as “Entertainment Technology – USITT DMX512-A – Asynchronous Serial Digital Data Transmission Standard for Controlling Lighting Equipment and Accessories,” was approved by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) in November 2004. It was revised again in 2008, and is the current standard known today as “E1.11 – 2008, USITT DMX512-A” (or just “DMX512-A”).

Ethernet is expanding as a means to communicate control signals that vary the intensity, color, timing and position of elements in theater and stage lighting systems. 

The ways that Ethernet can support theater and stage lighting

  1. The Need for Higher Bandwidth
  2. Why Not Internet Protocol (IP)?
  3. Scalability

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Flexible Data Centres Are Like Lego Blocks

Standardization can assist your data centre deliver constant high-quality performance on time and in a safe environment. In the world of data centres, “standardization” means that processes follow the same steps, in the same sequence, while using a set of products and systems with predefined characteristics. If data centres lack standardization, then “improvisation” (executing a task without preparing or knowing what’s ahead) often takes over. This eats up valuable time, leads to mistakes caused by human error and produces inconsistent results and unexpected delays.

While the word “standardization” seems restrictive, it actually can lead to the opposite: flexible data centers that make the most of capital investments, improve space utilization and prevent unplanned downtime. Which is more important: standardized or flexible data centers? Or can you have both? It’s vital to standardize where you can – but it shouldn’t come at the loss of flexibility to meet your unique (and changing) goals.

When combined appropriately, standardized, flexible data centers offer numerous benefits. Because it can be hard to describe, we’re going to use Lego blocks as an example. While Lego blocks are standardized, they also provide a world of flexibility:

  1. The Ability to Scale Quickly
  2. Easy “Maintenance”
  3. Ramp Up Easily for Fast Deployment
  4. Pieces Designed to Work Together

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Designing Machines for Global Use

Requirements for Machine builders today need to meet the demands of many diverse customers across the globe. And, since these clients usually prefer to use a specific industrial protocol, machine builders’ machines must adapt accordingly.

To make machine building easier, Belden’s Lumberg Automation brand developed the first multiprotocol I/O solution with M12 power (L-coded) connectors.

In this blog post, we share answers to a few questions about how Belden assisted one of its customers to easily meet global standards.

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What we Learned at the Ethernet Alliance’s Technology Exploration Forum

On Sept. 29, 2016, a Technology Exploration Forum (TEF) was hosted by the Ethernet Alliance to research new Ethernet market demands and technological challenges that will make up the next decade.

Belden was invited to share some insight and engage common interests and new challenges in the Ethernet community. The Forum learned some interesting things from industry experts, including research groups such as Dell’Oro and LightCounting, at the Ethernet Alliance Technology Exploration Forum, and wanted to pass them along to you.

  1. The Current Status of Ethernet
  2. More Cost-Effective, System-Level Solutions
  3. The Potential for a Fragmented Market
  4. Multisource Agreements Fill Gaps
  5. Sweet Spots for Fiber


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An Elephant in the Industrial Control Room?

There is an elephant in industrial infrastructure control room. Most of the equipment within the US infrastructure sectors is at risk of aging out, currently requiring replacement and upgrades, yet still in production use.

Which means industrial networks, endpoints, control systems and other types of specialized systems and production equipment across many industries are in drastic need of replacement or upgrade.  For water and wastewater treatment facilities, the useful life of system components is estimated to be 15-95 years old according to the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) and their report “Failure to Act – The Economic Impact of Current Investment Trends in Water and Wastewater Treatment Infrastructure”

Many of the components were installed in the 1950s for most major cities, years before today’s modern networks, technical advances, application architecture, industrial protocols, cyber security risks, compliance requirements, safety regulations and other factors applied.

Subsequently, It was no surprise when, in 2012, a large, growing California metropolis proposed funding for a new power generation and water treatment plant to increase capacity and replace its aging infrastructure

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