Vimal Kapur and Jason Urso (now returned to his duties as Chief Technology Officer) laid down a challenge for other vendors today by stating that the control system was going to the cloud– it is inevitable, Urso said, and is already happening with some SCADA functionality. This will lead to what they boldly called, “The Last Migration.” All the large automation companies have been operating on a business model that uses upgrades and migrations to keep money flowing from their customers. This, it is obvious, is something Honeywell wants to change. What this will lead to is a software-based control schema in which hardware is subordinated to the software, both in the field controller and in what used to be the DCS– which will be moving to the cloud…
Honeywell, which has always had an extremely proactive industrial control cyber security posture, has announced that it has signed a definitive agreement to purchase Nextnine, a privately held provider of security management solutions and technologies for industrial cyber security. The addition of Nextnine’s industry-leading security solutions and secure remote service capabilities will enhance the Company’s existing range of innovative cyber security technologies and significantly increase Honeywell’s Connected Plant cyber security customer base.
Nextnine’s flagship technology, ICS Shield, protects industrial sites from cyber security attacks and enables remote monitoring of assets. It complements Honeywell’s extensive cyber security portfolio with a solution that is used at more than 6,200 sites globally across the oil and gas, utility, chemical, mining and manufacturing sectors. Previously, ICS Shield had to be deployed separately for each control system vendor, resulting in multiple and separate installations at a single customer site. With this acquisition, customers will be able to deploy and operate a single system, thereby simplifying and better securing their entire site with Honeywell’s proven capability to provide multi-vendor solutions.
Founded in 1998, Nextnine has been backed to date by Infinity VC, XT Hi-Tech and several other prominent investors.
“Each day, the number of attempted cyber attacks on industrial facilities and critical infrastructure around the world increases,” said Vimal Kapur, president of Honeywell Process Solutions. “This acquisition shows our ongoing commitment to providing our customers with a comprehensive portfolio of cyber security solutions to protect and defend their industrial control systems and process control networks. Honeywell’s extensive global reach will increase Nextnine’s availability to a broader range of customers.”
Nextnine’s security solutions also will be a key enabler of Honeywell Connected Plant, which combines Honeywell’s unmatched industrial expertise, software and digital technologies to make its customers’ operations more reliable, profitable and secure than ever before possible. Cyber security is a critical part of that program.
The question, of course, is how much Honeywell’s customer base believes in cyber security.