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Optimizing IIoT Networks: Data Management for Manufacturers

9/6/23  |  Billy Hayes, IIoT Business Development Manager

As the integration of technology and data into manufacturing operations continues to transform the operational landscape, the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) offers new avenues for efficiency, productivity, and innovation. However, with these advantages come new challenges. In this case, we’re talking about data management. Using the power of IIoT while maintaining data integrity and security requires effective data management strategies. This blog post focuses on strategies on microsegmentation, network segmentation, and the role of data types in network hardware selection.

Microsegmentation: The Foundation of Data Security

Microsegmentation is an essential aspect of data management in IIoT. By dividing a network into smaller, isolated segments, you’re better able to enhance security and control. Below are a couple examples of the benefits of microsegmentation:

  1. Enhanced Security: By dividing the network into segments, you’re limiting the attack surface for potential threats. Cyberattacks can have devastating consequences for industrial manufacturers, so microsegmentation makes it harder for threat actors to get sweeping access to your entire network.
  2. Granular Control: Microsegmentation gives you the ability to apply specific security policies and access to each microsegment based on the devices and data within that segment.

Defining Network Segmentation and Traffic across ICS

To manage data effectively, you need a clear understanding of network segmentation and traffic across your industrial control systems (ICS). Here are some things to consider:

  1. Application and Use Case Segmentation: Different processes and systems may require individual network configurations to optimize performance and security. For example, the network segments you have for monitoring sensors on the factory floor will be different from the ones you use to manage supply chain logistics.
  2. Traffic Prioritization: In some cases, your data traffic may be time-sensitive, like control commands to robotic systems and high-speed discrete control. Prioritizing data traffic based on its urgency and importance makes sure your critical processes run smoothly.

Data Types and Network Hardware Selection

Types of data also play a major role in your data management. The different types of data will play a role in your choice of network hardware and the overall implementation of network segmentation.

  1. Bandwidth and Latency Requirements: Different types of data have varying bandwidth and latency requirements. Transmitting high-resolution video data may require a high-speed, low-latency network, whereas sensor data may be less demanding. It’s important to choose network hardware that will allow for segmentation of traffic per application requirements.
  2. Scalability: Remember to think long-term as well. As your business and operations continue to grow, so will the volume of data created by your IIoT devices. Choose network hardware with scalability in mind to avoid future bottlenecks.

Your Cybersecurity Partner

Data management and segmentation is only one part of the cybersecurity journey. While technological advances will vastly improve your efficiency and productivity, you need to be mindful that your data and critical infrastructure are secure. Rexel’s team of experts have the knowledge to help you mitigate cybersecurity threats. Our cybersecurity assessments provide a full picture of where you stand and give actionable recommendations. Contact us today to get started.