New Smart Firewall For Emerson’s Distributed Control Systems (DCS)

June 01, 2023 by Damond Goodwin

Emerson has enhanced its DeltaV Distributed Control System with the addition of their NextGen Smart Firewall for better network security as manufacturing and plant connectivity continue to grow.

Network Security is Important to Manufacturing

Security breaches can have a major impact on manufacturing processes and lead to downtime and other problems. Network security has become increasingly important as manufacturing processes become more connected through the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and other connected networks.

While the connectivity can help manufacturers with better efficiency, preventative maintenance improvements, and less downtime, it can also leave them open to cyber attacks. This is where plant network security becomes something of importance for manufacturers.


Firewall network structure

A firewall isolates sensitive (and critical) plant networks from attacks originating outside the system. Image used courtesy of Emerson


Cybersecurity for DeltaV Systems

Emerson, a global technology and software company, offers manufacturers cyber security management services to help reduce the risk of cyber threats. They can help to improve plant network security through the use of DeltaV Distributed Control System. The system is ISASecure SSA Level 1 certified and works by segmenting the control system from untrusted networks.

Emerson has followed a “defense-in-depth” strategy to build, maintain, and implement their DeltaV systems. The strategy uses a layered approach to security, making it more difficult for attacks to get through Emerson's protective defenses.


NextGen Smart Firewall for the DeltaV Distributed Control System

Emerson has recently released its new NextGen Smart Firewall to enhance the DeltaV system and improve its security. The firewall is purpose built for the industrial manufacturing industry and fits into most manufacturing processes. The goal of the firewall is to help manufacturers increase cyber security and secure plant networks without adding complexity to operations teams who are often already overburdened.


Emerson NextGen Firewall

The NextGen Smart Firewall provides multiple network and configuration connectivity ports. Image used courtesy of Emerson


Firewall Hardware

The NextGen Smart Firewall features robust construction to help it survive the harsh manufacturing environment. Its dimensions take up a small area at 7.37 in. high x 5.34 in. wide x 2.75 in. deep. The firewall can be configured using the built-in HTML5 browser-based interface, making for easy installation. The interface is designed to be user-friendly with its built in setup menus, designed to be easy to understand.


Firewall Software and Interface

Support personnel are able to manage the perimeter of the system with the easy to operate user interface. In addition, DeltaV Network Device Command Center can be used to monitor specific hardware status with the DeltaV alarm system. Dynamic port mapping helps OPC-based communications maintain a more secure perimeter. The firewall can also keep up with ever-changing security standards in a cost-effective way that is easy to implement.

The Firewall works for virtual private networks (VPNs) by increasing flexibility for global networks. It is also capable of network address translation to protect network IP schemes and in conserving addresses. The firewall is controlled with a more granular setup, meaning auditors only have read access, engineers can add or modify application rules and administrators have full control of the firewall.


Emerson rackmount firewall

The NextGen Smart Firewall rackmount kit includes redundant 24 volt power supplies in a rack mount size. Image used courtesy of Emerson


Security and Connectivity

With more manufacturing connectivity, network security is of ever-increasing importance. Emerson is looking to enhance its vision of boundless automation architecture, and one way of doing that is through the connectivity of plants, in a more secure manner. Their latest addition to the DeltaV Distributed Control System comes in the form of a Smart Firewall. The firewall is easy to integrate and has an easy to use interface, making integration easier.