By Mike Miclot
Nobody likes the job of replacing a good team member when they retire. Yet, that is the job the manufacturing industry is faced with as a trusted component of the industrial application ecosystem steps down from active duty. That component is the Windows XP operating system (OS), a workhorse of a product that is pervasive in factories, energy facilities and many critical infrastructure systems around the world.
Windows XP-based computers, machines and devices are installed EVERYWHERE in industry. They include the white box PCs running important manufacturing, process or production applications on the plant floor, in control rooms and in engineering offices. They also include ruggedized PCs running PLC, DCS and other device configuration / monitoring applications in your processes.
Furthermore, they include a lightweight version of Windows XP that is in embedded components in thousands of devices that control many factory automation and process control operations. Today, I am going to look at what the end of service (EOS) for the Windows XP OS means for those responsible for keeping industrial processes up and running.
Industrial firewalls are an easy way to protect your applications. Unfortunately, the EOS for Windows XP means we need to say good-bye to a trusted friend. It is not going to be easy or fast to replace this friend. While your Windows XP upgrade planning and execution is underway, you need to take immediate steps to secure your operations.
It is recommend that you consider installing industrial firewalls as an immediate security solution that:
• Can be deployed into live networks without disrupting production
• Are simple to install and configure
• Are designed for industrial development from the ground up, including being appropriately ruggedized and certified
• Can be implemented without the domino effect of having to upgrade and test many applications, drivers, computers and equipment
• Is cost effective