Industrial network protection and cybersecurity were the hot topics on the agenda at a recent upskilling session held by industry trendsetters Haslop & Mason in Port Elizabeth.
The event, which was attended by both customers and staff, covered the latest developments in cyber technology and tackled some of the potential threats to industrial networks - and how to avoid them.
Sales manager Carlos Pedrosa says staying current on these high-tech security issues is essential for all industry players as networks form the backbone of any corporation today.
"Intentional or accidental disruption to the network can result in countless, costly hours of downtime. Loss of production has a direct impact on the success of companies. Security measures are a must to ensure continuous operation at multiple levels," says Pedrosa.
For this year's world-class training session, Haslop & Mason approached leading industrial brand Rockwell Automation as presenting partner.
"Each year, we select specific companies and specialists to enhance the skill sets of our customers in areas of focus that we believe will benefit our customers and their needs," Pedrosa explains.
Presented by Michelle Rigby, senior solutions consultant for Rockwell Automation in Johannesburg, the training session outlined Rockwell's offering in network security and monitoring tools as well as what value their security services could add.
"Networks have become such a critical part of the automation infrastructure that the operations staff are often called upon to maintain and troubleshoot. The first step is to know exactly what is connected to the network in real-time," says Rigby.
"It is also critical to understand the potential risks and start building security into your industrial automation control systems. Threat detection platform Claroty offers a live window into your network, delivering full-spectrum visibility across IT, operational technology, and IoT (Internet of Things) networks without the need to install agents and at no risk to operations."
Claroty's integrated suite of cybersecurity solutions addresses the unique challenges of industrial control systems, allowing engineers, operators, and cybersecurity professionals to protect the most complex industrial networks.
Pedrosa says Haslop & Mason's continuous training sessions cater for many business fields, as the solutions and products presented benefit any automation processes, no matter the industry.
"PE predominantly serves the automotive industry so, depending on the material offered, we like to keep classes small enough to make the most impact and to get the message across. This is why we keep our numbers down to 10 to 18 people per day."
He says the classes are designed to be interactive, combining technical presentations with hands-on sessions that allow customers to try out the new products in a case scenario platform.
"Customers may read about new products and their benefits on news feeds, but working with the new products in a hands-on lab benefits them on so many levels, assisting them in making future decisions."
On the benefits of this year's seminar, Rigby says: "We are firm believers in the benefit the training brings and are delighted that we could partner with Haslop & Mason, an industry frontrunner and leader, who gave us this platform for presenting the latest innovations in cyber technology."
Keven Dersley, managing member of Haslop & Mason adds: "We are proud to offer our training facilities for presenting workshops and seminars to upskill customers at no cost to them. We believe this is of tremendous importance when it comes to building customer relations and adding value beyond the sale."