More from the Sausage Factory

Nancy here, sneaking into the blog-posting station again while Walt's not looking.

One of the neat things about my job here at the magazine sausage factory is that I get to see most of the articles for each issue before anybody else. They end up on my desk first. I get the ultimate sneak preview of every issue. So already, long before the issue is ready for printing or posting, I can tell you this: Our November issue is going to be standout.

Because it's such an important topic, we've turned over the entire issue--both features and columns--to the question of security in the process industries. The days when securing your plant involved nothing more than a good barbed-wire fence and an alert guard at the gate are gone forever. The world's gotten a lot more complicated and the possible ways someone with bad intentions can do harm have multiplied and grown more sophisticated at well. And it's not just the bad guys out there. Complex, interconnected systems mean that even well-intentioned, if ill-informed folks with access to places they have no business being can wreak havoc.

That complexity and sophistication is the first thing I learned in preparing this issue. Thinking that security in a post-9/11 world is just about preventing some crackpot with an agenda from driving up to your property with a truckload of explosives is missing a good deal of the point. Likewise, assuming that because you've mastered the business of protecting your networks and communication from hackers and spies (If you have, good for you!), you're job is done, is also to miss part of the issue. Good process-industry security today is both these things and more.

What we're doing in November is looking at this new, complex issue of security your assets--your physical plant, your processes, your intellectual property and your people, from a number of different perspectives. Here's a preview of some of the issues we'll be covering.

Since that preview was posted, the November Control Talk has come in. There you'll here from not only Greg McMillan and Stan Weiner, but also Mark Nixon, the chief architect of the original DeltaV development, editor for the WirelessHART network management specification and for the DeltaV future architecture team, about process control security. There's also going to be a great Ted Williams cartoon (No, you can't hear the punchline now.) and TWO Top Ten lists. 

You can also bet that our regular columnists, Walt, Jim Montague, Dan Hebert and Keith Larson, will have a thing or three to add to the mix.

Over the next couple of weeks, we'll be sharing bits and pieces of the issue with you as it comes together. As they used to say in the radio biz, don't miss the next exciting episode. . .