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Ten Commandments of Industrial Ethernet

From network security to documentation to IP address protocol and siloing of information, this list of 10 "commandments" will keep your network strong, secure and functional and should be front-of-mind for information technology professionals and plant managers alike.

I. Thou shalt place high priority on security, for hackers lurketh, thieves stealeth and employees bungleth

A Wi-Fi-enabled computer can connect to multiple networks at the same time. Your employees can give a hacker a pathway into your internal network simply by powering up a laptop. Imagine the mess an eco-terrorist could make if he didn’t like the look of your smokestack. 

Even your well-intentioned employees can bring a network down, simply by blundering around in areas they shouldn’t. Don’t take chances with network security.

Most wireless systems employ industry-standard WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy). A hacker can get around it within a few hours. Look into more powerful standards like Extensible Authentication Protocol and Tunneled Extensible Authentication Protocol. 

Never assume that your industrial Ethernet products have built-in security features. At the very least, you should use inspection-type firewalls (such as packet filters) to control any access that is based on IP source address, destination address, and port number.

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