Tag: cybersecurity

The Crucial Role of Security in IIoT Solutions

Written by Jordan Deville, Sr. ICS Consultant | OT Consultant


As the world continues to embrace digital transformation, industrial settings such as chemical plants and manufacturing facilities are not exempt from this transition. The emergence of Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) technology has paved the way for enhanced automation, improved operational efficiency, and increased productivity in these environments. However, it is essential to address the critical aspect of security in IIoT implementations to ensure the protection of valuable assets and data.

In this blog post, we will explore the significance of security in IIoT and highlight the measures necessary to safeguard your industrial operations.

Physical Security

At the sensor level, physical security plays a crucial role in IIoT systems. Ensuring the separation of IIoT sensors from control system sensors is imperative to prevent unauthorized access or data manipulation. By implementing physical separation, damage to the overall integrity and reliability of the system, both control and IIoT, is minimized.

Network Security

Layered network security is vital in protecting IIoT systems. While general IT network security is typically layered on top of IIoT, it is essential to consider that IT network security systems are primarily designed for conventional data flow and authentication. In contrast, IIoT requires specific configurations that focus on control system data flow standards. IT network security systems may be updated every two to three years, while IIoT systems often span 15 to 20 years between updates. As such, there are many complexities that must be accounted for anytime the IT system needs an update. Therefore, it is crucial to bridge the gap between the two and ensure the security of both systems.

Cloud / Local Hybrid Infrastructure

Many IIoT systems require both cloud and on-premise server infrastructure to process and integrate data effectively. However, this integration introduces the challenge of establishing secure network tunneling between the different types of infrastructure. Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) or authentication using Transport Layer Security (TLS) certificates are both valid options. However, the latter requires more advanced configuration and regular IT maintenance. By implementing these measures, you can secure the data flow between cloud and on-premise servers in your IIoT system.

Data Security

The security design of a standalone IIoT system primarily involves focusing on user and system access control to prevent unauthorized entry. Additionally, the tag-level security provided and supported by most IIoT and Control System manufacturers can offer an added layer of protection. Integration with third-party systems, especially for data analysis, must be carefully controlled to ensure critical data remains adequately protected and does not fall into the wrong hands.

Control System Adjacent System Architecture

Well-designed architecture connecting an IIoT system with the primary control system is crucial to maintaining data security. It is essential to ensure that data is only produced by the control system and consumed by the IIoT system to prevent accidental data leakage or unauthorized data control. Likewise, data should not be allowed into the control system from the IIoT system. By implementing robust security measures, you can have full control over the data flow between these interconnected systems without compromising their integrity.

Why Choose RED Group for Your Secure IIoT System

RED Group, certified as an IIoT expert by Cirrus Link, has successfully deployed IIoT solutions for multiple customers. Not only do we possess extensive expertise in the IIoT field, but we are also specialists in control systems and OT network systems for industrial cybersecurity. Our unique qualification allows us to design and implement highly secure IIoT systems tailored to your specific needs.


Security is an indispensable aspect of any IIoT system, ensuring the protection of valuable assets and data in industrial settings. By prioritizing physical security, layered network security, secure cloud/on-premise hybrid infrastructure, data security, and control system adjacent system architecture, you can safeguard your operations from potential threats. As an IIoT-certified firm with expertise in control systems and OT network systems, RED Group stands ready to assist you in designing and implementing secure IIoT solutions. Reach out to us today and let us help you navigate the path to a secure IIoT future.


Jordan Deville, Sr. ICS Consultant and OT Consultant of RED Group’s Houston office, has nearly a decade of experience in Industrial Control systems design and implementation. He has spent the past several years building and refining control system network systems especially focusing on cybersecurity and network safety.

Revolutionizing the RNG Industry with AI

Transforming RNG with AI
Co-Written by Karl Nicholas, Business Development Manager


The Renewable Natural Gas (RNG) industry is experiencing remarkable growth as the world seeks sustainable and eco-friendly energy sources. As this industry expands, it encounters unique challenges that demand innovative solutions. Fortunately, as part of a larger digitalization journey – which encompasses technologies such as digital twin, advanced analytics, and the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) – Artificial Intelligence (AI) has emerged as a game-changer, offering transformative capabilities to optimize operations and maximize efficiency. In this installment of our Digital Transformation blog series, we will explore five compelling use cases where AI can revolutionize the RNG industry, enhancing predictive maintenance, quality control, process optimization, anomaly detection, and predictive modeling.


Predictive Maintenance

One of the critical challenges in the RNG industry is ensuring the smooth operation of complex equipment. RED Group leverages advanced AI algorithms to analyze sensor data and equipment performance, enabling predictive maintenance. By monitoring the condition of crucial components such as compressors and boilers, RED Group’s AI solutions can both identify patterns and anomalies that indicate potential failures or maintenance requirements, as well as provide the opportunity to extend preventative maintenance intervals if the equipment is showing no warning signs. These proactive approaches minimize downtime, reduce maintenance costs, and optimize overall plant efficiency.

Quality Control

Maintaining consistent and high-quality RNG products is crucial for the industry’s credibility and market competitiveness. AI offers a powerful solution by monitoring the composition and quality of incoming and outgoing gases. Advanced techniques such as gas chromatography or mass spectrometry can be integrated with AI processes to analyze data in real-time. This enables precise monitoring and control of the RNG composition, ensuring that the final product meets rigorous standards consistently.

Process Optimization

Efficient and sustainable RNG production relies heavily on optimizing complex processes. AI can analyze vast amounts of data collected during the production process and make real-time adjustments to optimize operations. By continuously monitoring temperature, pressure, flow rates, and other relevant variables, AI algorithms can identify opportunities to reduce energy consumption, enhance yields, and improve overall process efficiency. These optimizations not only reduce costs but also contribute to greener and more sustainable RNG production.

Anomaly Detection

In an industry where even minor disruptions can lead to significant losses, the ability to detect anomalies and address them promptly is crucial. AI can monitor data streams in real-time, detecting anomalies that may indicate equipment malfunctions, leaks, or other operational issues. By leveraging machine learning algorithms, AI systems can quickly recognize abnormal patterns and notify plant operators, enabling them to take immediate action to prevent costly downtime and optimize safety.

Predictive Modeling

Making informed decisions based on accurate forecasts is a key factor in the success of RNG plants. AI can utilize historical and real-time data to create predictive models that forecast production levels, feedstock availability, and market trends. By analyzing a range of variables, such as weather patterns, demand fluctuations, and regulatory changes, AI-powered predictive models provide plant operators with valuable insights to optimize operations, plan investments, and stay ahead of the competition.


Take Away

The RNG industry stands at the forefront of renewable energy, offering a sustainable alternative to traditional natural gas. By embracing AI technologies, RNG plants can unlock immense potential for efficiency, productivity, and competitiveness. From predictive maintenance to quality control, process optimization, anomaly detection, and predictive modeling, AI empowers the industry to overcome challenges and achieve new levels of performance. By harnessing the capabilities of AI, RNG companies can secure a greener future and contribute to a sustainable energy landscape.

Ready to unlock the full potential of AI in the RNG industry? Contact us today to learn how RED Group can help revolutionize your operations and drive your RNG plant towards greater success!


Karl Nicholas is a technology enthusiast and brings many years of experience working and managing various projects in areas such as Cybersecurity, Engineering, IoT, Digital Transformation, and more.

Industrial Cybersecurity, AI, IoT, and Digitalization: The Future of Manufacturing

Industrial Cybersecurity & Digitalization: The Future of Manufacturing

The manufacturing industry is undergoing a digital transformation. The journey towards modernization and digitalization via the use of artificial intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT), and other technologies are changing the way that products are designed, manufactured, distributed, and delivered. This transformation is also creating new challenges for industrial cybersecurity.

As manufacturing systems become more connected, they are also becoming more vulnerable to cyberattacks. Threat actors can exploit vulnerabilities in these systems to gain access to sensitive data or to disrupt operations. In some cases, cyberattacks intend to cause physical damage to equipment or facilities.

To address these challenges, manufacturers need to adopt a comprehensive approach to industrial cybersecurity. This approach should include the following elements:

  • Asset identification and inventory: Manufacturers need to identify and inventory all their critical assets, including both physical and digital assets. This will help them to understand their risk exposure and to prioritize their security efforts.
  • Vulnerability & Risk assessments: Manufacturers need to regularly assess their systems for vulnerabilities. This will help them to identify and fix security weaknesses before they can be exploited by hackers.
  • Security controls: Manufacturers need to implement security controls to protect their systems from cyberattacks, and ideally, link them to business drivers/outcomes. These controls can include firewalls, intrusion detection systems, and access controls.
  • Response Planning: Manufacturers must develop and implement the appropriate actions to be taken following a cybersecurity event.
  • Recovery: Manufacturers need to take actions to return to normal operations in a timely manner to reduce the impact from cybersecurity events.

NIST Framework: Identify, Protect, Detect, Respond, Recover

By taking these steps, manufacturers can help to protect their systems from cyberattacks and to ensure the continued safety and security of their operations. In addition, manufacturers can also benefit from the use of AI in industrial cybersecurity. AI can be used to automate tasks such as vulnerability assessment and threat detection. This can free up human resources to focus on other tasks, such as evaluating and implementing new security controls and training employees.

AI can also be used to develop new security solutions that are specifically designed for industrial environments. For example, AI can be used to develop self-learning intrusion detection systems that can adapt to new threats as they emerge.

The use of AI in industrial cybersecurity is still in its early stages, but it has the potential to revolutionize the way that manufacturers protect their systems from cyberattacks. As AI technology continues to develop, it is certain to play an increasingly crucial role in industrial cybersecurity.

Some of the many benefits to implementing industrial cybersecurity measures include:

  • Increased safety: Industrial cybersecurity measures can help to protect workers from injury or death by preventing cyberattacks that could cause physical damage to equipment or facilities.
  • Lowered Risk: Industrial cybersecurity measures can lower risk of exposure and financial losses due to things such as ransom, legal risks, etc.
  • Reduced downtime: Industrial cybersecurity measures can help to reduce downtime by preventing cyberattacks that could disrupt operations.
  • Improved efficiency: Industrial cybersecurity measures can help to improve efficiency by preventing cyberattacks that could disrupt supply chains.
  • Protected intellectual property: Industrial cybersecurity measures can help to protect intellectual property by preventing cyberattacks that could steal trade secrets or proprietary information.
  • Increased compliance: Industrial cybersecurity measures can help organizations to comply with regulations such as Federal Nuclear and Energy Regulatory Commission orders and rules, or sector-specific cybersecurity plans.


Take Away

Industrial cybersecurity is a critical issue for manufacturers. RED Group supports organizations in implementing industrial cybersecurity measures, empowering manufacturers to protect their systems from cyberattacks and ensure the continued safety and security of their operations. Contact us today to learn more and get started on your digital transformation journey.


Check out the next installments of our Digital Transformation series:

Creating Zero-Trust Security Architecture

Create Zero-Trust Security Architecture
Written by Garrett Williams, Senior OT Security Consultant


What is Zero-Trust Security?

Zero-trust is the practice of shrinking the cybersecurity perimeter and eliminating inherent trust in your environment. The focus is on using technology and up-to-date methodologies as tools to get security as close as possible to each individual asset or components within a control system.

For example, instead of a security zone being the entire manufacturing plant, specific HMIs and historians are grouped together to minimize the attack surface that a security team needs to manage. Between each grouping may be virtual networking divisions, physical devices or other mechanisms that allow for alerting and monitoring centrally.

Security solutions must be dynamic to keep up with modern threats – that is the only way to ensure your overall architecture has strong foundations to handle the security required for ongoing operations. With Industrial Control Systems (ICS), that means preventing unauthorized and unwanted access to operational technology (OT) that could have caused a disruption in the availability of services. The Zero-Trust model utilizes strong cybersecurity tools and methodologies to create an environment that is inherently secure as opposed to being inherently available.

So, where do you start? Every cybersecurity-related vendor now utilizes the buzzwords ‘zero- trust security’ and ‘false claims’ to sell the full package solution, but most products only add and strengthen the bricks within one or more pillars that complete your cybersecurity architecture. To create a truly secure environment, you’ll need a partner who can help develop the bigger picture.

Developing the “Bigger Picture”

To build a strong cybersecurity program, there are a number of cornerstone methodologies – or “pillars” – that can be implemented. Below are the most fundamental of these pillars:

Strong Asset Management:

Having an asset inventory is critical for security; it is the basis for most methodologies. Security requires a few different components to allow it to function at its best. When deciding what these pieces are, you should ask yourself questions such as:  What are we protecting? How much is it worth? Where is it? These questions must be addressed on a continuous basis in order to have strong asset management within an organization.

Some examples of assets are computerized equipment, generated data, software and/or applications, and even services. Assets should be ranked or prioritized. A common practice for control systems is doing a crown jewel analysis, which are devices and processes most critical for operation.

Least Privilege

Least privilege is giving the absolute minimal amount of access to resources necessary to do one’s job. An organization needs to define roles and the specific responsibilities that fall under each role. Only then can you create strong policies that restrict the appropriate access to resources during the appropriate time.

Dynamic IAM MFA

Multi-factor authentication (MFA) successfully defeats most password guessing and credential hijacking attacks. However, MFA by itself is not insurmountable. We are constantly creating and strategizing new ways to authenticate rightful users to the resources they need to do their jobs. Flexibility is required with security tool and technique selection.

The strongest and most effective way of authenticating users and devices is by combining multiple methods to create one strong policy. Identity Management can be very arduous and granular – it is paramount to understand how your organization defines and validates identities, as well as represents those identities digitally within your environment. Remember, the goal is strong discriminative authentication policies that do not inconvenience operations.

Build defensible networks with segmentation plus monitoring

Group and separate your network based on asset attributions, how they transact with each other, and their value to the business. The point in which one security zone interacts with any other should be digitally monitored. Monitoring is set up and networks are separated using virtual networking solutions or hardware solutions such as firewalls and unidirectional gateways.

In a zero-trust architecture, a defensible network serves dual purposes. These checkpoints can serve as booby traps and alert your team of adversaries in your environment. Network segmentation in addition to monitoring also gives you the option to defend yourself against an attack. For example, if you experience a ransomware attack, a segmented network can help prevent the spread of malware from one security zone or group of assets to another.

Your Partner in Cybersecurity

A zero-trust architecture establishes network security from the inside out, starting with the asset(s) or security zone. Sometimes, with a little bit of help, you can implement zero-trust architecture with little to no cost. There are many security-enabled features inside the networking, OS-based HMIs, and workstation systems currently used within most OT environments.

To help you transform your environment into a zero-trust security model, you need a partner that not only helps you invest, but also consults you on how to address cyber threats with existing capabilities. It is essential to have security-aware people, secure processes, and secure technologies.

RED Group is your partner in implementing zero-trust security architecture throughout your industrial environment. We can get started by evaluating your current cybersecurity program maturity and assessing how and where you can implement better cybersecurity tools and improve your cyber security posture. Contact us today to begin working on a roadmap to secure your environment.

Garrett Williams is an OT cybersecurity professional with an extensive history of building and leading high performing teams.

Creating and Maintaining a Cyber Resilient Organization

Creating and Maintaining a Cyber Resilient Organization
Written by David Bacque, VP of Operations and Director of OT Security


When major cyber events hit the news, we are reminded again of the best practices and continuous improvement opportunities we may, or may not, be employing to lead a cyber resilient organization. Teams responsible for operational technology and industrial control systems should be keenly aware of the risks associated with cyber events and the potential for costly production downtime, not to mention damage to people, property, or the environment.

While it is important to have procedures in place to respond to cyber incidents, preventative measures should be your first line of defense. For OT Systems, there are several critical security controls that are often overlooked or not fully implemented which can go a long way towards mitigating risk and improving an organization’s ability to respond to a cyber event. This article briefly outlines a few foundational elements which should be utilized in addition to proper incidence response planning.

Asset Management

Often, organizations have an incomplete or outdated asset inventory stored in a file which is hard to find and even harder to manage or derive value from. Modern OT Asset Discovery and Monitoring solutions, such as Forescout, can proactively and safely monitor OT systems to maintain an asset inventory as well as monitor for unplanned system changes, current patch levels, and unauthorized devices.

Portable Media and Device Management

Because OT systems are typically segmented from other enterprise systems as well as the internet, well-intentioned administrators, consultants and technicians often must get creative on how to connect, update and configure devices. This typically involves connecting a portable computer to the system or bringing data in on a portable media device, such as an external hard drive. In order to maintain the integrity of an OT system, it is critical that a process exists to limit the use of unknown portable media and computers as well as a process to scan and quarantine any device which needs to connect into the OT environment.

System Patching and Hardening

Modern operating systems are insecure by design and require a plan for patching and unnecessary features to be disabled to minimize the possibility of malicious code execution. OT system administrators often skip patching and hardening OT systems because of the false sense of security provided by network boundaries, firewalls or even “air-gaps”. The fact is that malware or other exploits can still find their way into OT systems through portable media and computers or even through poorly configured firewalls or inadvertently connected systems. Once inside a network of unpatched computers, exploits are far more likely to wreak havoc through well-known vulnerabilities. Typically, these vulnerabilities have long been addressed by system vendors.

Disaster Recovery Planning

Most people know that it is important to routinely back-up mission critical data and systems to avoid data loss in the event of a system failure. What is often overlooked, however, is utilizing a process and practicing an actual system restore from that backup to verify that systems can be recovered in an amount of time consistent with a risk-based plan. In the same way disaster preparedness is important to ensure your team is familiar with the safety protocols put into place for emergency situations, disaster recovery planning prepares your team in the event of a cyber-attack. Backup integrity needs to be regularly verified and systems should be restored onto test hardware to verify that recovery processes are accurate and reduce the impact of a cyber event or system failure.

Preventative Measures

In summary, there are a number of risks associated with industrial cybersecurity of OT systems. While it is certainly important for organizations to have procedures in place to respond to cyber events, it is also crucial to be proactive about protecting your assets. A few preventative measures that should be implemented within organizations include:

  • Asset management
  • Portable media and device management
  • System patching and hardening
  • Disaster recovery planning

Ensure your systems are protected and your assets are defensible – contact RED Group today to get a better idea of where you currently stand on your cybersecurity journey and to lay out a roadmap to better cyber resilience.

David Bacque, an experienced cybersecurity and operational technology (OT) professional, has led, advised on and delivered OT projects and ICS security initiatives with industrial clients around the world.