Product Highlight August 2022
With their new Microwalls Bridge and IO, W&T have added to their range of industrial firewalls one easy to implement and one easy to control solution - both during continuous operation.
Security without touching IP configurations: Microwall Bridge
Since traditional segmentation is accomplished using routers on the IP level, this almost always requires cumbersome reconfiguration of the IP basic parameters of all the components involved. If the required access data are available at all, there is still an extremely high risk of errors. The resulting troubleshooting inevitably results in a production standstill.
To prevent such stoppages as well as to protect such components for which the access parameters have gotten lost, the Microwall Bridge offers a quasi plug-and-play solution in two steps: First the devices to be protected or function groups are combined on the physical level using Ethernet switches. The uplink to the surrounding main network remains intact during this phase, so that the only dropout is while the network cable is actually plugged in. Then the Microwall Bridge is switched to the uplink for the main network. The web interface is used to release the needed communication connections between main and isolated network. The IP setup of the relevant devices remains untouched.
The IP-transparent security enhancement minimizes not only the otherwise common dropout risk thanks to its minimal integration effort. It also offers a very simple emergency fallback in case a device fails. The Microwall Bridge protects vulnerable systems from malware and undesired access, including machines or older systems such as services having known security gaps.
Firewall control via PLC or simple switch: Microwall IO
Thanks to the innovative I/O control, the Microwall IO provides very fast access to the firewall management: The digital inputs/outputs allow the integration of remote maintenance or firewall-specific actions directly from the immediate automation environment. That makes it possible for machine operators to carry out various preselected actions on their own, such as activating VPN access, switching firewall rule sets or controlling the status of network interfaces via a PLC output or a simple switch. With that, the need for coordination between OT and IT can be significantly reduced and proceedings accelerated in the event of due maintenance or an unexpected problem.
Network segmentation for critical systems: W&T Microwalls
Like all W&T industry firewalls, the Microwall Bridge and IO isolate critical systems like machinery and IoT devices on network islands from the surrounding network to protect them from harmful events. They then route these islands securely to the corporate intranet so that all desired functions are retained. This is ensured by individual filter rules that regulate communication between the island and the surrounding network on a whitelist basis.
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