You probably know a great deal about wireless technology and its importance in many industries. You know that wireless technology makes your life easier and you’ve come to depend on it in your personal life.
You would never want to give up the ability to simply click a button on your iPhone to check your email in line at the grocery store or turn off your heater from down the street.
But when it comes to utilizing wireless technology at work – especially in highly regulated or critical industrial applications – are you more hesitant to adopt this technology because of security or reliability concerns? You have heard about the benefits, but maybe you’re wondering if it’s worth the risk.
The truth is, wireless technology is evolving daily – becoming more and more secure and more and more reliable. We’re at a point that you can increase the function of your business with wireless technology while still remaining completely secure, and the benefits certainly make it worthwhile.
Realizing the Benefits of Secure Wireless Technology
Wireless technology will positively impact your bottom line. The increased flexibility, efficiency and cost savings associated with this technology mean big benefits for you and your business. Benefits include:
- Remote workers. Wireless technology isn’t just about remote machinery – it’s advantages give workers remote access from anywhere on the manufacturing floor. It’s no longer necessary for workers to be in a control room, at a desk computer or at the machinery site to check on operations. It is now easier than ever before to monitor operations and manage remote sites while on the move.
- Real-time data. Wireless gives you the ability to easily access real-time data, or data delivered immediately after collection. This is especially helpful in industrial applications that need data faster than ever before for applications, like quality control or employee safety.
- Asset utilization. The data isn’t just faster, there’s more of it. The data – collected from your network’s machines and sensors – provides insights to help set goals, measure progress and optimize use of available assets.
- Improved diagnostics. With access to greater amounts of more timely data, you can avoid manufacturing issues before they happen. When you’re taking full advantage of wireless technology, you can find and fix and issues quickly, before they turn into big problems that slow or stop operations. Your business benefits from enhanced efficiency, reduced downtime and, ultimately, increased profitability.
Wireless Technology and Industrial Security Go Hand in Hand
To ensure your wireless technology remains secure and available, it’s vital to continuously update and improve your wireless networks. There are several key security considerations to keep in mind as you enter the wireless world:
- Start with the right equipment. Industrial applications have different needs than enterprise applications. The wireless you use in your office or home isn’t designed to meet the demanding environmental requirements of industrial environments nor do they include the types of protocols that enable the high reliability required in critical applications. For industrial applications, always chose wireless gear built for industrial applications – and be sure it includes a built-in firewall to prevent unauthorized access.
- Security is an ongoing process, not a one-time event. You can have the best security strategy in the world – wired or wireless – but things change. Researchers continuallyidentify new threats and automation equipment vulnerabilities are frequently revealed. Therefore, an important part of your security strategy must be setting up systems to monitor your network, and making regular updates.
- Not all threats are purposeful. Unintentional cyber security incidentshappen regularly. According to 2011 RISI data, most cyber security threats and incidents are accidental and occur inside industrial networks. Make sure you have the processes in place to keep employees from unintentionally introducing vulnerabilities to your wireless networks.
Want to learn more about wireless technology in industrial applications? Review this case study about one company taking advantage of the benefits of wireless technology or take a look at Belden’s Wireless Microsite.
Belden Inc. delivers a comprehensive product portfolio to meet mission-critical network infrastructure needs of industrial, enterprise and broadcast markets. With solutions targeted at reliable and secure transmission of growing data, audio and video needed for today’s applications, Belden is at the center of the global transformation to a connected world.