Thoughts on ISAExpo2007

My observations about last week's Expo are focused on security. They include thoughts from walking the showroom floor, attending presentation sessions, and SP99 sessions. The showroom floor had more vendors including wireless in their products than ever before. I spoke to a number of vendors that advertised Ethernet networking and/or wireless capabilities about their security features. Most could not answer technical questions (at all or competently) and either pointed to their brochures or said they would have someone contact me. With the heightened focus on security, vendors should have people in the booth capable of answering security questions. I had several people ask me why there wasn't more new being discussed at the presentation sessions. Dale Peterson mentioned the same thing in his blog (www.digitalbond.com). With the number of security conferences and vendor user groups addressing security, this could hurt the ISAExpo if this doesn't change. An interesting corollary to the first two issues is that most of the people I talked to about security on the showroom floor did not attend the security sessions and were unaware of the issues being discussed. What struck me about the SP99 and 99.04 sessions were the lack of industry diversity. That is, the end-users attending these sessions were from the oil/gas and chemical industries. There was no end-user attendance from either the electric or water industries. Bottom line- security is still a word not a philosophy and we still haven't even effectively reached the control system community.

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