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New law confronts rising risks of cyberattack

The U.S. Congress approved and President Obama signed The Cybersecurity Enhancement Act of 2014. The bipartisan act strengthens and protects the nation’s economic and national security through public-private partnerships to improve cybersecurity and to create a greater reliance on cybersecurity standards, research and development, workforce development and education, and public awareness and preparedness.

Passage of the bill follows years of efforts to pass federal cybersecurity legislation. An earlier cybersecurity bill, The Cybersecurity Act of 2012, was defeated in the Senate. Its demise prompted President Obama to instruct the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to develop the U.S. Cybersecurity Framework, which was introduced in February 2014.

At the federal government’s request, representatives of both the Automation Federation and ISA served as expert consultants to NIST as it coordinated the development of the U.S. Cybersecurity Framework. In fact, long before the President called for a federal initiative on cybersecurity, Automation Federation and ISA leaders were consulting with White House National Security staff, U.S. federal agency officials, and members of Congress on the critical need to establish national cybersecurity standards, guidelines, and compliance testing.

Industrial automation control systems security standards developed by ISA (ISA99/IEC 62443) are integral components of the federal government’s plans to combat cyberattack, because they are designed to prevent and offset potentially devastating damage to industrial plant systems and networks—commonly used in transportation grids, power plants, water treatment facilities, and other vital industrial settings.

The Cybersecurity Enhancement Act of 2014:

  • Authorizes NIST to facilitate and support the development of voluntary, industry-led standards and best practices for critical infrastructure—drawing on many of the key recommendations in the U.S. Cybersecurity Framework
  • Strengthens cybersecurity research and development by building on existing research and development programs and ensuring better coordination across the federal government
  • Ensures the next generation of experts are trained and prepared for the future
  • Increases the public’s awareness of risks and cybersecurity
  • Advances cybersecurity technical standards

Reshoring efforts slowing

Global strategy and management consulting firm A.T. Kearney released its 2014 Reshoring Index, the first in a series of studies looking objectively at the rate and pace of the return of manufacturing operations to the U.S. In this inaugural index, manufactured goods flows are tracked over 10 years to show the change in ratio between U.S. manufacturing imports and gross output during the period. The index is actually expected to show a year-over-year decline, lower by 20 basis points from 2013, as offshoring to foreign manufacturing markets outpaces reshoring.

“While the so-called reshoring trend has helped improve the mood of U.S. manufacturing since the recession, the reality is that the import value of manufactured goods into the U.S. from 14 low-cost Asian countries has grown at an average of 8 percent per year in the last five years,” said Pramod Gupta, A.T. Kearney principal and study coauthor. “The 2014 Reshoring Index is not only an indicator of U.S. manufacturing capital flows, but also how the U.S. stacks up in terms of attractiveness as a source of manufactured products versus countries like China, Bangladesh, and Cambodia.” Highlights include:

  • The top three reshoring industries (as measured by the number of cases in A.T. Kearney’s database) are electrical equipment, appliances, and component manufacturing, with 15 percent of the cases; transportation equipment manufacturing, with 15 percent; and apparel manufacturing, with 12 percent.
  • Improvement in delivery time led the reasons executives gave in favor of reshoring, with quality improvement a close second, and brand/image third.
  • Although there has been an overall lift in U.S. manufacturing for five straight years since 2009, imports of offshored manufactured goods into the U.S. have increased at a faster rate than any return of manufacturing operations.

AT&T collaborates with Rockwell Automation

Rockwell Automation and AT&T are collaborating to improve remote asset utilization and connected machine management. The companies will help Rockwell Automation customers securely collect, manage, and act on data from industrial equipment located in plants and remote sites around the globe by bringing the AT&T Global SIM and M2X Data Service platform together with Rockwell Automation cloud-enabled service offerings.

The companies are also developing reference architecture and validated designs for cellular Internet of Things deployments within industrial sites. These tools will guide customers in the design and use of cellular connected assets in ways that complement the existing in-plant network infrastructure.


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