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Perspective: Data leakage and the IIoT

By Ed Sperling, for Semiconductor Engineering

Mar 29, 2017

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The Internet of Things has raised concerns about people hacking into home networks or using armies of bots to disrupt communications. But with the Industrial IoT, the stakes are significantly higher—and the effects can last much longer.

Security tops the list of concerns as more industrial equipment is connected to the Internet, according to numerous industry insiders. That hasn’t stopped companies connecting industrial equipment to the Internet, because there are documented gains in efficiency, uptime and quality. But it has cast a shadow over these efforts, tempering how quickly companies add that connectivity and how they implement it.

In the past, the complexity and size of an operation generally provided safeguards against data theft or leakage. But with commonly used data mining tools, it’s now possible to separate out meaningless shop floor data and hone in on the important events, which roughly adhere the 80/20 rule. Add in multiple companies and begin correlating bottlenecks and other noteworthy industrial events, and that data suddenly becomes much more valuable to a lot of people—makers of equipment, government or industry policies, marketing groups, as well as the highest bidders within a particular industry or those looking to invest in an industry.

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