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Siemens uses Zscaler to advance digital transformation in OT

By Jessie Chiang
Tue 31 May 2022

Cloud security company Zscaler and automation and digitalisation business Siemens have announced a partnership they say will help customers with Operational Technology (OT) infrastructures to accelerate their secure digital transformation goals.

Zscaler says by combining the Zscaler Zero Trust Exchange cloud security platform and Siemens' devices, customers worldwide will be able to use the Zscaler Remote Access for OT alongside Siemens' processing platform SCALANCE LPE. 

The companies say this enables customers to securely manage control quality assurance, and analyse production OT infrastructures and their applications from any workplace in any location.

Zscaler says in the current hybrid working environment and economy, the need for factory automation, higher production output, and an agile staff for OT environments is greater than ever. 

It says factories are faced with devastating cyberattacks that can cause financial and human loss. Zscaler and Siemens say that in order for factories to modernise and transform digitally, new security approaches, like Zero Trust access, will be added to traditional defense-in-depth strategies. 

Zscaler says factories layering in Zero Trust access capabilities can now reduce their risk while using remote staff or connecting to the internet and the cloud, enabling them to take greater advantage of technology innovation that speeds factory output.  

With Zscaler Private Access for OT,  factory staff, contractors, and third-party workers can remotely access factory systems securely to perform maintenance, monitoring and other tasks.

Siemens' general manager of digital connectivity and power, Herbert Wegmann says the Zero Trust principles are incredibly relevant to smart factory initiatives.

"Operators are embracing digitalisation to bring more automation and intelligence to their production. But it also brings a new dimension of connectivity between shopfloors and the internet," he says.

Zscaler CEO, chairman and founder Jay Chaudry says he's thrilled joint customers of Siemens and Zscaler now have an integrated, highly secure approach to obtain and deploy Zscaler Private Access for OT environments.

"Customers will be able to digitalise their factories faster by adding a Zero Trust access layer to their OT infrastructure," he says.

"Our product and go-to-market collaboration will help ensure that industrial customers can improve factory uptime through reduced risk to remote worker access, while at the same time protecting themselves from the influx in cyberthreats facing them today."

Key advantages of the Zscaler's and Siemens' secure OT remote access service include:

  • Secure remote access to plants and machines

CISA recently pointed out that VPNs can contain risks when not updated. Now, customers can layer zero trust onto traditional strategies to provide a more secure remote access solution to the factory floor.

  • Privileged remote access for internal and third-party users 

Browser-based access allows authorised admins to execute commands from remote endpoints to OT systems over secure and fully isolated connections without installing an agent on the OT systems or any software on the users' endpoints.
Seamless integration into existing OT networks Docker-based app connectors. This makes it easy to deploy secure remote access on industrial control systems (ICS) and industrial network components. 

  • OT-IT Convergence

Users can safely converge their OT/IT worlds using Zscaler Private Access for IT-OT access.

  • SaaS Service via a distributed, multi-tenant security exchange

The first SaaS-based OT remote access solution is powered by Zscalers security cloud, with 150+ data centres worldwide. This results in a highly scalable and stable service. On average, they provide 200,000 unique security updates per day, stop 7Bn threats, and ensure the fastest connections between users and assets, supporting factory production no matter where the users are located. 

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