OPC Connectivity & Security Concerns in IT/OT Convergence

Posted by John Weber on Dec 20, 2016 2:00:00 PM

Complications of Domains, Workgroups, & Mixed Windows Versions & Solutions

In the Operations Technology or OT world that most of our users live in, it’s normal to have multiple versions of Windows and systems that may not always be setup consistently but we have to make it all work anyway.   Connecting OPC clients and servers when the Windows computers are not on the same version, not in an Active Directory or, using older terminology, a domain, and having everything work well takes skill, and keeping it secure involves a lot of details.

In this blog post, our team asked me to explore with you the details involved to assist you with better understanding Windows Security and to converse more productively with your IT Team.  I’ll also share how you can learn more about how to make things easier on yourself through the use of OPC UA or with Tunneling.

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Topics: Device Integration, Tunneling, OPC Tunnel, DCOM, Security, IT/OT, DataHub

How Redundancy Can Define Success or Failure in a Control System

Posted by Win Worrall on Jul 12, 2016 2:01:29 PM

This is Part 9 of our “25 Things to Consider when Choosing an OPC Tunnel” series.  Will a tunneler support redundant tunnel paths?

Redundancy is typically a more complex topic than it might sound especially if your automation control architecture is extensive and has multiple layers.  Redundancy has different meanings to different people for different applications.

This blog post will outline reasons why it's important for an OPC tunneling solution to support redundant paths for applications where it is essential minimize the risks of failure when transferring your control data and what questions to ask.

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Topics: Device Integration, OPC Tunnel, DCOM, Tunneling, Redundancy, DataHub

Reasons a Configurable TCP Port is Important for OPC Tunneling

Posted by Win Worrall on Jun 21, 2016 11:30:00 AM

This is Part 8 of our “25 Things to Consider when Choosing an OPC Tunnel” series.  What flexibility is there in how ports are configured?

Depending on your level of knowledge regarding OPC tunneling solutions, you may or may not be aware of how a tunneler uses TCP ports for transferring data between machines.  Your IT department likely gives you plenty of trouble whenever you mention needing to open a TCP port.  And with good reason - cyber attacks frequently exploit commonly used TCP ports.

This blog post will outline three top reasons why it's important for an OPC tunneling solution to support fully configurable TCP ports for transferring your data.

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Topics: Device Integration, OPC Tunnel, DCOM, Tunneling, DataHub

Reasons why DCOM across Windows versions is a nightmare

Posted by Win Worrall on Jun 7, 2016 4:19:49 PM

This is Part 7 of our “25 Things to Consider when Choosing an OPC Tunnel” series.  How does the OPC tunneling solution work in a mixed Windows OS environment.

If you have ever used DCOM between two different varieties of Windows operating system (Windows 7 and Windows XP, for instance) you already know how painful it can be to configure DCOM.  DCOM configuration is never a walk in the park but the frustration multiplies when the operating system isn't the same on both machines.

This blog post will outline one of the easiest methods to avoid the problems of configuring DCOM when the operating systems do not match.

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Topics: Device Integration, OPC Tunnel, DCOM, Tunneling, DataHub

Configuring a tunneler should be quick and easy

Posted by Win Worrall on May 24, 2016 2:00:00 PM

This is Part 6 of our “25 Things to Consider when Choosing an OPC Tunnel” series - Configuring a tunneler should be quick and easy.

How easy does the tunneler vendor make it to get started with their solution?  It's important to consider what resources the vendor has made available to you to assist with setup and configuration.  Resources such as videos, FAQs and technical support could mean the difference between your setup taking only minutes to that same setup taking hours or even days.

This blog post will outline some of the expectations you should have from a good tunnel vendor with respect to the resources they can provide to make your experience as user-friendly as possible, both now and in the future.

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Topics: Device Integration, OPC Tunnel, DCOM, Tunneling, DataHub

Can your tunneler do more than just tunnel?

Posted by Win Worrall on May 10, 2016 1:52:44 PM

This is Part 5 of our “25 Things to Consider when Choosing an OPC Tunnel” series. Can your tunneler do more than just tunnel?

Many OPC tunnels out there are just that—an OPC tunnel and nothing more. What if you need to perform another operation with the data besides tunneling it?  In most cases, you'd be stuck introducing an additional piece of software to handle any other operations.

This blog post will outline some of the additional functions you might need from a tunneler and why having a single application is the best architecture.

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Topics: Device Integration, OPC Tunnel, DCOM, Tunneling, DataHub

Performance matters when choosing a tunneler

Posted by Win Worrall on Apr 26, 2016 2:00:00 PM

This is Part 4 of our “25 Things to Consider when Choosing an OPC Tunnel” series. Performance matters when choosing a tunneler.

Performance is always an important consideration when choosing the best tunneler.  It is even more important if one or more of the following is true:

  • You need to transfer a lot of data very fast.
  • You are using networks with limited bandwidth.
  • You are using cellular or satellite networks that charge based on the amount of data used.

This blog post will cover some important aspects to consider when evaluating different tunneling solutions, their methods and the resulting performance relative to such variables.

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Topics: Device Integration, OPC Tunnel, DCOM, Tunneling, Tunnel Performance, DataHub

What is the customer experience when contacting the supplier’s technical support?

Posted by Win Worrall on Apr 12, 2016 2:02:15 PM

This is Part 3 of our “25 Things to Consider when Choosing an OPC Tunnel” series. What is the customer experience when contacting the supplier’s technical support?

Technical support is an area where users shouldn’t underestimate the importance.  This blog will cover some important aspects of technical support to consider when evaluating different tunneling suppliers.

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Topics: Device Integration, OPC Tunnel, DCOM, Tunneling, Technical Support, DataHub

How should a tunneler handle network security?

Posted by Win Worrall on Apr 5, 2016 1:14:18 PM

This is Part 2 of our “25 Things to Consider when Choosing an OPC Tunnel” series. How does the tunneler handle security?

Security is an integral consideration when choosing a tunneling solution.  This blog will cover some important aspects of security to consider when evaluating different tunneling solutions.

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Topics: Device Integration, OPC Tunnel, DCOM, Tunneling, Security, DataHub

How should a tunneler respond when the network connection is lost?

Posted by Win Worrall on Mar 23, 2016 12:59:12 PM

This is Part 1 of our “25 Things to Consider when Choosing an OPC Tunnel” series. When choosing software applications to handle the tunneling of your data, there is more to making the right choice than simply a checkbox on a product datasheet that says “tunneling”. This series will introduce you to the considerations that will help you make an informed choice and choose the most effective tunneler for your specific application requirements. If you are unfamiliar with what an OPC tunnel is, please read our post “ Tunneling OPC Data – What Is It?
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Topics: Device Integration, OPC Tunnel, DCOM, Tunneling, DataHub

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