Honeywell launched its first Middle East industrial cyber security centre of excellence (COE) at its Dubai office to test and demonstrate threats, vulnerabilities and to train customers.
This investment comes in support of regional government initiatives such as the Dubai Cyber Security Strategy, to strengthen cyber security defences in a growing digital transformation across industries. The new centre will support a rapidly developing Middle East cyber security market, which has been seeing increasingly sophisticated cyber-attacks, Honeywell said.
“Honeywell saw this as one the most important areas for cyber security research as well as to train customers - we were being asked by customers to leverage our experience gathered globally,” said Jeff Zindel, vice president and general manager, Honeywell Industrial Cyber Security.
Zindel said Honeywell is differentiated among competitors by its industry experience.
“We have a decade’s worth of unique experience in industrial cyber security technology, the process control systems and networks and we couple that with a detailed understanding of operations and finally of people. We have a unique perspective and understanding that we translate into our own methodology, software and solutions,” he said.
Zindel said the centre is also a critical part of Honeywell’s network of global Cyber Security COEs dedicated to improving industrial cyber security for critical infrastructure, information technology and operational technology (IT/OT) convergence and digital transformation.
The new COE technology centre provides a safe off-process environment to test and demonstrate process control network vulnerabilities and threats, train customers with real-time attack simulations and provide advanced customer consultations.
The centre contains distributed control systems, a physical plant process and the latest industrial cyber security software and solutions. It includes data analytics and networking equipment capable of supporting unique training sessions, demonstrations, workshops, and cyber-attack simulations. The facility is led by a full-time operations team with deep industrial cyber security expertise and operational technology knowledge fundamental to help customers stay ahead of cyber threats.
“As threats to industrial control environments become more sophisticated, it will be crucial to train the workforce of the industry for effective cyber security implementation,” said Safdar Akhtar, business development director of Industrial Cyber Security for Europe, Middle East and Africa at Honeywell Process Solutions. “At the centre, we are able to demonstrate cyber security solutions and controls in attack scenarios to show which of them are most effective at combatting various attacks.”
The centre was inaugurated by Jeff Zindel during a launch event that showcased the solutions within the COE, followed by a demonstration of real-time cyber-attack scenarios and the effectiveness of advanced cyber security controls.
The COE provides a hub in the region to collect customer feedback and collaborate with global research and development teams to help develop solutions for the region and global markets.