With breaches in cyber security increasingly seen as posing as great a threat to life and property in the process industries as ‘conventional’ accidents, it’s no great surprise to hear that Canadian cyber security specialist Wurldtech and leading safety consultancy exida have entered into a strategic partnership under which they plan to integrate Wurldtech’s Achilles cyber security certification program into exida’s safety service portfolio. The agreement is also described as providing a foundation for the joint development of future cyber security and safety certifications. Launched two years ago, Wurldtech’s Achilles program already boasts such key vendors as Emerson, Invensys, ABB, Yokogawa and HIMA among its users.
Wurldtech clearly sees alliances with the process safety world as a key element of its strategy. Only last October, it announced an agreement with Columbus, Ohio-based safety consultancy Kenexis under which the two companies would “jointly deliver specialized safety process designs and services to address the evolving cyber risks facing operators of real-time industrial automation systems.” As a further element of that agreement, Wurldtech’s vice president of Security Services, Bryan L Singer, was to assume the role of principal consulting engineer at Kenexis. It is not at present clear how the new partnership with exida will affect the Kenexis agreement. That follows the recent appointment of John Cusimano as exida’s director of Security Services.
Wurldtech says that the partnership with exida is a response to customer requests to expand Achilles to include new categories, such as control applications, industrial networking infrastructure and both operator integration and vendor development processes. “Process control system operators want to minimize risk and maximize uptime, and suppliers want to be first to market with certified, reliable systems,” said exida’s Cusimano. “By bringing the safety and cyber security certification processes together, operators and suppliers have a single source for all of their certification needs and that positively impacts the bottom line.”
Faster to market
One vendor which seems to approve of the move is Emerson Process Management. “Having worked with both Wurldtech and exida since their inception on independent certification efforts, we see the value that this partnership will bring in being able to focus our certification activities,” said DeltaV security architect Bob Huba. “Having a single certification process for safety and security is consistent with our integrated approach to DeltaV and DeltaV SIS. Combining our product security certification activities with our safety certification process, we can now introduce new versions of our systems without the overlap of going to several locations. That will certainly help get products to market faster and more efficiently.”