It's about being an authority... #google+ #pauto #cybersecurity

I am very pleased to announce that Joe Weiss, our intrepid and Unfettered cyber security blogger, has
been named by the US as a designated US Expert on cyber security.

"I just received my official notification of being designated a US expert to IEC TC45/SC 45A/WG9 - Instrumentation and control of nuclear facilities,"Joe said in a recent blog post on our Unfettered blog (

"This is in addition to being a designated US expert to IEC TC 57 WG15 - Power systems management and associated information exchange, and IEC TC 65 Working Group 10 - Industrial process measurement, control and automation," he went on.

Joe explained that these working groups are addressing different aspects of control system cyber security.

"Each committee is technical in nature and cyber security is an enabling technology to meet the needs of electric transmission and distribution, industrial process and batch operations, and nuclear power plants," Joe said.

He explained: 

"TC45/SC 45A/WG9 produces and maintains standards and reports on all aspects of nuclear plant instrumentation systems at the system or channel level including: electronic aspects, processing aspects, safety aspects. The WGA9 scope includes current setpoints, critical safety function and performance monitoring functions as well as new EMI/RFI work when approved. A major aspect of our charter is the application of emerging electronic techniques in order to meet nuclear instrumentation and control requirements, particularly computer systems and advances in information processing and control, including artificial intelligence. In this context, one of our strategic tasks is to review and comment on drafts of IAEA safety code in order to maintain consistency between IAEA and IEC documents and identify detailed technical aspects for which IEC standard developments are appropriate and responsive to the market needs.

"TC57WG15 prepares international standards for power systems control equipment and systems including EMS (Energy Management Systems), SCADA), distribution automation, teleprotection, and associated information exchange for real-time and non-real-time information, used in the planning, operation and maintenance of power systems. Power systems management comprises control within control centres, substations and individual pieces of primary equipment including telecontrol and interfaces to equipment, systems and databases. Although the work of TC 57 is chiefly concerned with standards for electric power systems, these standards may also be useful for application by the relevant bodies to other geographical widespread processes.

"TC65 WG10 prepares international standards for systems and elements used for industrial-process measurement and control concerning continuous and batch processes. WG10 coordinates the standardization of those features of related elements which affect suitability for integration into such systems. The work of standardization outlined above is to be carried out in the international fields for equipment and systems operating with electrical, pneumatic, hydraulic, mechanical or other systems of measurement and/or control."

Our congratulations on further evidence that Joe has become a world-class authority on cyber security. 

Which brings me to the point. I want to talk about authority and what it means in a time when anyone can be an expert as long as they have an Internet access account and a burning desire to share their opinions. I want to talk about and authority. It is our goal to become your authority for process automation.

Authority is a serious issue today. The Internet's basic anonymity means it's easy to set up as a pundit about just about anything, and nobody's the wiser if you sit in your skivvies in your mother's basement or are wearing a suit. And often nobody is the wiser-at least for a while-if you actually don't know what you are talking about, but sound (or read) really good doing it.

Essentially, authority means that the people who read your stuff do think you know what you're talking about. It really is something that is difficult to counterfeit for long. Pretending to be an authority in the process automation field is hard to do because the pretenders are easy to spot.

That's why we have so many real authorities writing for Control and Between Béla Lipták, Greg McMillan, Greg Shinskey, Dick Caro, Ian Verhappen, John Rezabek, Joe Weiss, our newest blogger, Dan Miklovic, our publisher Keith Larson and me, we have more than 400 man-years of process automation experience. That's four centuries of "if you do it that way, it works...I know because I tried it the other way and it didn't..." and "if you do that, you are going to blow up the plant, so don't."

What this gives us is the ability to answer questions authoritatively, describe applications and share the knowledge we've compiled with our readers. Lipták and McMillan answer questions every month in Ask the Experts and Control Talk. "Ask the Experts" has answered over 390 questions from concerned automation professionals since we launched the feature. Greg McMillan profiles and interrogates an automation authority every month, in a deliberate attempt to pass on the accumulated body of knowledge of the automation profession.

This is also the reason we do not allow vendor authors in Control and restrict them to white papers and vendor notes on It is certainly true that people in the vendor community have great knowledge and understanding of applications and problems in the process automation space. Unfortunately, sharing their understanding and knowledge with us comes at the potential price of favoritism toward their employer or their employer's favorite technologies.

We provide one exception to this policy: If the author in question has achieved election by his peers into the Process Automation Hall of Fame, we believe that his authority in process automation is unquestionable, and his (or her) insights trump employment.

Google respects authority. When you see Control or ranking high on the response page in the search engine, that means that Google respects our authoritativeness as an information source for process automation professionals.

We chose the name specifically to take a North American print magazine and turn it into a global resource for process automation because we could see the growth of the automation profession outside of North America, and the concomitant need for experience-based information and actionable answers.

In our humble opinion, we've succeeded pretty wildly. More than half of the visitors to come from outside North America. We even have a small Spanish language information channel, "Control en Español." We are always researching ways and partnerships to do more in other languages and other cultures. We delight in accepting articles from all over the world. We have had articles authored everywhere from Cleveland to China to Iran, and we want more.

We are determined to provide you with the most authoritative information-resources that you can use to do your job every day, wherever in the world your job may be. Comment on this post and let me know how you think we're doing.