A potential customer recently told me a frightening story. The IT department spent weeks planning, and configuring the IP network for new high-speed printers in the finance department. When they went to install the printers, all they received was a networking error. Simultaneously, across campus, the network connected elevators in another building went haywire. All because of an IP conflict between the printers and the elevators. Imagine if the elevators were in a hospital and full of patients. The scenario is scary, and all too real in the age of converged networks.

In many ways, this story goes to the root of the age-old conflict between information technology (IT) and operational technology (OT) teams. Most of the problems are centered around the sharing of a commodity IP network. I’ve already talked about BACnet Storms and security vulnerabilities, but they are just two of the areas that create tension. IP conflicts is another one – possibly the biggest one. Avoiding IP conflicts requires constant communication and diligence. One small mistake, wrong IP address, or a missed configuration setting can lead to disaster.

I’ve seen these IP conflicts, between IT and OT teams, pop up time and time again. Unfortunately, IP conflicts are a reality in todays converged corporate environments, and mitigating the risks is a top priority for many networking teams. When I talk to these folks, I remind them that there is a simple, cost effective way to eliminate the conflicts and associated risks: Identity Defined Networking (IDN) from Tempered Networks. This may sound like a bit of a sales pitch, but it’s true.

My experience talking with IT and OT teams is the conversations we have are extremely productive, especially when they are both in the room together. In many cases, the only thread running between them is the common IP network, and all the issues and conflicts it causes. Often, when we present our IDN solution, there is confusion about which side of the house we are more suited for, OT or IT. Once we have the discussions, and demonstrate the capabilities of IDN, they begin to see that this is a win for both sides and at considerably lower investment than either of them expected.

If you’re fighting with network convergence issues between your OT and IT teams, check out our solution and find out how truly simple it can be. Never again have installing a printer cause people to get trapped in an elevator.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017 By Erik Giesa