Modernizing your industrial network architecture is an excellent idea, considering how it can transform your enterprise in more ways than one, and how you can improve productivity along the way. Add to that the fact that the change can help you make decisions in a real-time basis. What’s more, you will find that it gets easier to deliver what your customers expect from you, right when they need your product or service. Wonder how you can modernize your infrastructure? Here are some tips to bear in mind:
Get Everyone Involved
Many business owners think that modernizing a network infrastructure should be a go-it-alone venture for their IT department. If you really want to make sure that the implementation of a new system delivers the desired results, everyone must be involved from the get-go. Start communicating with the entire team including key stakeholders. This will help minimize problems later on. To ensure everyone has access to the information they need, you should determine the required connections between your enterprise business systems and manufacturing execution system (MES). Next, you need to work out a way that allows your team to facilitate network maintenance without causing disruptions.
Use Industry Guidance and Resources to Help
Seek industry guidance when you want to ensure the success of your network modernization project. The resources you seek should talk about deploying future-ready network architectures, i.e. validating and testing reference architectures and the provision of design guidance. After understanding those former concepts, you are ready to cover topics about modernizing your industrial network infrastructure. Reliable sources usually feature tips on troubleshooting, implementation, configuration, and system design.
Choose the Correct Industrial Ethernet Protocol
This is one of the most critical aspects you must consider when modernizing your network infrastructure. You have to take note that what you choose today will define your industry in the next few years. Many companies are capitalizing on connected smart devices which define the IIoT or the Industrial Internet of Things. IIoT utilizes the Internet protocol (IP), which provides a common language for all devices interoperating and coexisting within the same network.
Replace Security-through-Obscurity Approach with Holistic Security Approach
One of the key things to focus on when modernizing an industrial network infrastructure is your security. You have to take note that by having more connection points in your system, the security risks may be higher. In order to cope with all these potential risks in the future, you will need a security approach that is holistic enough to protect not just your assets and intellectual property but also your operations and employees. This will replace the older security-through obscurity approach which is no longer enough to help in a network infrastructure. Before you even start building that security program, you must be able to identify threats and risks first.
Always Plan Ahead
Modernizing your existing network will require not just careful thinking of what you need at the moment but also having an anticipation of what will happen in years to come. You can always choose large-scale technologies like virtualization which can reduce the cost of maintaining and deploying your servers. Alongside this choice, you must make sure that the network infrastructure can be segmented into virtual local area networks in order to create smaller zones. In case you are planning to incorporate remote access to your company operations, you must make sure that your network architecture supports the various collaboration tools.
These are but some of the things to keep in mind when thinking of modernizing your industrial network infrastructure. Do not forget to choose the expert who can help you. ANEXIO can help provide a system that will cater to your present and future industrial network architecture needs within your workplace.