The concept of asset has been developed to show the network from a physical point of view. An asset is a physical machine of the industrial network such as a switch, an engineering station, a controller, a PC, a server, etc. In the UI, a single asset icon can represent multiple physical assets or multiple components. The graphic interface complies with the logic of management and inventory, focusing on users’ needs. Technically, an asset is an aggregation of components with similar properties. These components share the same characteristics such as: IP address, MAC address, NetBIOS name, etc. To define the type of asset, protocol tags and properties are associated. The aggregation of components into an asset and the definition of the asset type is based on a set of rules defined within the system.
A controller is a ruggedized, industrial, digital computer used to control industrial processes. Controller is a generic term that encompasses several terms related to specific vertical applications. It can be a programmable logic controller (PLC) in manufacturing such as assembly lines, robotic devices, or any activity that requires high reliability control and ease of programming and process fault diagnosis. It can also be a Distributed Control System (DCS) Controller in oil and gas or power generation. A controller can also be used as an Intelligent Electronic Device (IED) in power grids.
An Engineering Station is a workstation in which engineering software is installed and used to configure, program, start or stop PLCs, DCSs or Safety controllers.
Human Machine Interface (HMI)
Human Machine Interface (HMI) is a combination of hardware and software devices that allow a user to communicate with a computer system.
An HMI is often part of a Supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) and gives the operator information about a process. Information is commonly presented using graphical views (a GUI), on which an operator controls and sends commands.
Information Technology (IT)
Information Technology (IT) refers to the use of computers to create, process, store, retrieve and exchange all kinds of data and information within an entity. For example, in a company, the IT department is responsible for organizing and ensuring that communication and information tools are running. These include wired and wireless computer networks, computer equipment, software maintenance, protection strategy, and etc. IT is primarily responsible for the smooth running of commercial, administrative and financial services. Its general purpose is to centralize data and processes and ensure their protection. Cybersecurity tasks are becoming more complex over the years, as a result of cyber-attacks and virtual industrial espionage. Thus, data backup and recovery solutions deployment also represent a significant function in IT strategies.
Network device refers to all assets used to manage or control the ethernet network. It could be a switch, a router or a VPN gateway.
Operational Technology (OT)
Operational Technology (OT) refers to the industrial control systems (ICS) used to monitor or control a physical system, such as industrial equipment, assets, processes and events, within an industrial network. The purpose of OT is to ensure the safety and long-term operation of production equipment. This is especially true in factories, where any stoppage in the production line or any drop in output results in substantial financial losses. OT must also ensure the safety of people and property while they're working. OT is operated by automation engineers but the increasing introduction of Internet of Things (IoT) inside industrial networks makes the responsibility boundaries between OT and IT blurry.
Examples of Operational Technologies:
Programmable logic controllers (PLCs)
Supervisory control and data acquisition systems (SCADA)
Distributed control systems (DCS)
Remote terminal units (RTU)
Building Management Systems (BMS) and building automation systems (BAS)
Supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA)
Supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) is a control system architecture that uses computers, networked data communications and graphical user interfaces for high-level process supervisory management. It uses other peripheral devices such as programmable logic controllers and discrete proportional integral derivative (PID) controllers to interface with the process plant or machinery. The operator interfaces that enable monitoring and the issuing of process commands, such as controller set point changes, are handled through the SCADA computer system. However, the real-time control logic or controller calculations are performed by networked modules that connect to the field sensors and actuators.