A Deep Dive into how Secure Remote Access Systems like FactoryTalk Remote Actually Work.
In my last post, I talked about the value of Secure Remote Access for Industrial Control Systems. In that post, I explained why it is important for end users to have a system in place that allows employees and OEM technicians to securely access equipment remotely.
In this post, I will dive into an explanation of how Secure Remote Access Systems work in the context of FactoryTalk Remote Access, Rockwell Automation’s Secure Remote Access System for industrial control systems.
Let’s look at the components that make up a Secure Remote Access system like FactoryTalk Remote Access.
FactoryTalk Remote Access is a hybrid cloud system that enables remote access to industrial equipment.
What on earth is a hybrid cloud system?
A hybrid cloud system is basically a system that exists partially in the cloud and partially in the end user’s infrastructure. In the case of FactoryTalk Remote Access, there are three components to the system. These components are:
The whole system looks like this:
Let’s take a closer look at the components that make up the Secure Remote Access System.
FactoryTalk Remote Access Manager is used to enable Secure Remote Access to industrial control systems for remote workers.
FactoryTalk Remote Access Manager is made up of
The Stratix 4300 is a remote access router that enables remote access to devices through a VPN connection via Gigabit Ethernet and serial interface. The router is available in a 2-port and 5-port variation.
This router is quick to configure with first-time configuration available via a USB port and subsequent configurations done through a centralized web client.
It also features digital I/O and hardware commands that can be used to allow or deny remote connectivity at the local machine. This provides an extra layer of security since remote access to a machine or system is only enabled when you physically enable the router at the local machine.
The more skeptical people in the audience may be wondering at this stage what’s so great about a Secure Remote Access system like FactoryTalk Remote Access. After all, applications like TeamViewer already provide a way to remotely connect to a control system.
I have also used TeamViewer in a pinch, but the functionality of TeamViewer is limited. Although it enables remote access to a control system, that remote access is not easily secured or administered.
With a Secure Remote Access system like FactoryTalk Remote Access, you can:
In this post, I have explained how a Secure Remote Access system like FactoryTalk Remote Access works. Along the way, we learned that a Secure Remote Access system is typically made up of a hardware and a software component that help to increase the security of the connections.
We also talked about the advantages of a Secure Remote Access system over traditional remote access tools like TeamViewer. The main advantages of a Secure Remote Access system are that it provides more control and visibility over remote connections which helps to reduce the risk of hacks and to make sure that any remote access to the industrial control systems is administered correctly and complies with IT policies.
If you are still not convinced about the value of Secure Remote Access systems, then check out my previous post on the topic which explains what benefits come from investing in a Secure Remote Access system and looks at some common use cases for Secure Remote Access systems for both OEMs and end users.
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