Stahl and security: Full concentration in tune with the times

Stahl and security: Full concentration in tune with the times

8. July 2019

R. Stahl has every reason to be satisfied with the first six seminars which were held recently in april 2019 in several cities in northern and western Germany under the heading “Explosion Protection Day”. Yokogawa was proud to be invited as a lecturer at this series of interesting events – in Bremen, Hamburg, Leipzig, Dortmund, Cologne and Frankfurt – to talk about a red-hot topic, namely plant security.

Explosion protection – a life-or-death topic

On second thoughts, though it’s hardly surprising that R. Stahl chose to put the focus of the seminar cycle on explosion protection. After all, it’s literally a life-or-death topic. There is good justification for the strict rules that have been in force here for years. And it’s also no coincidence that this particular topic is extremely relevant for the process industry. Factors like the safety of the people who work there, a safe and trouble-free production processes and a clean environment are key objectives when it comes to process technology. Understanding why explosions occur and what can be done to avoid them wherever there is a risk that combustibles, oxygen and ignition sources could come into contact with one another is paramount for achieving these objectives. Stahl’s experts presented this and a wealth of other useful information in a fascinating and coherent way.

Why do safety and security belong together?

This exciting seminar series also included regular time slots in which Yokogawa could discuss central aspects of plant security in greater detail and increase their visibility among the audience. For example by casting a spotlight on the term “safety”. This means in this specific context reducing risks in process industry production processes to an acceptable level. It is generally the case if safety instrumented systems perform their safety functions reliably. IEC 61508 is the basic standard aimed at ensuring this as far as possible. This standard is relevant during the development process for all control systems. IEC 61511 (Edition 2, September 2016) is another basic standard that is relevant for use in the process industry.

Well-known standards and recommendations

IT and cyber security also featured prominently in the various presentations. The explanation of “security” showed very clearly how cyber security also embraces protection against attacks on IT / OT systems and is determined by well-known standards and recommendations. The dominant standard here is IEC 62443 / ISA 99. Other relevant standards and recommendations are ISO 27001, the NIST Framework (NIST Special Publication 800-53) and the NIS Directive (Network and Information Security Directive for Critical Infrastructures) as well as German Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) publications.

Security and safety – an inseparable pair

Aside from these diverse definitions and explanations, the experts emphasized explicitly that in today’s digital age, where everything is flexible and extensively networked together, functional safety also includes security. In short, safety and security have to be treated as equivalent.
But what exactly does OT security involve? It means protecting all components and processes that are necessary to operate an automated production plant reliably and safely. For instance control and safety instrumented systems, network components like firewalls or switches, etc. Processes linked to planning, implementation, training, operation and maintenance are equally vital in this connection. Here, too, legal and regulatory requirements exist which must be observed.

It isn’t only the technical aspects that are essential for proper security in industrial operations, though. It is no less crucial to develop and raise the security awareness of every single employee. Only then will each individual be able to recognize and combat security threats in day-to-day operations before it’s too late.

If you’re interested in other seminars on similar topics, you may find the following links very useful:


Author’s note / comment: I’d like to take this opportunity to say a big thank-you not just once but four times. Thank you for putting on such an extraordinary and remarkable seminar. Thank you for all those hours packed with expertise, tremendous motivation and manifest passion. For a seminar series where every second was a perfect combination of heart and head. Thank you to R. Stahl’s truly great team.

Note: This blog article contains contents of a seminar series from the end of April 2019.

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