Maintaining operational technology (OT) assets can be a challenge for several reasons:
1. Complexity: OT assets are often complex and may include a variety of different hardware and software components, which can make it difficult to understand and manage all of the different parts.
2. Age Equipment: OT assets can be old, and may have been in use for many years, which can lead to wear and tear and may require frequent maintenance and repairs.
3. Limited documentation: There may be limited documentation available for the existing assets, which can make it difficult to understand how the assets are currently configured and operated.
4. Cybersecurity: OT assets may not have been designed with the same cybersecurity considerations as IT assets, which can make them more vulnerable to cyber threats.
5. Limited resources: Maintaining and upgrading OT assets can be costly and time-consuming, and organizations may have limited resources to devote to this task.
6. Managing risks: Identifying potential risks, developing a risk management plan and monitoring and mitigating risks as the project progresses are important steps to ensure the safety and integrity of the assets.
7. Keeping the long-term vision: Keeping in mind the long-term business vision, which will help ensure that the assets are scalable, maintainable, and can support future business needs.
Overall, maintaining OT assets can be challenging due to the complexity of the assets, age and wear, limited documentation, cybersecurity, safety, limited resources and need to balance the short-term and long-term goals. It requires a comprehensive approach and a well-planned strategy to ensure that the assets are properly maintained and updated to meet the organisation’s current and future needs. Here are some best practices in managing a brownfield control system project:
1. Establishing a preventive maintenance program: This involves regularly scheduled maintenance activities to ensure that the assets are in good working condition and to prevent breakdowns or failures.
2. Conducting thorough site integration tests: This includes inspecting and testing the assets during the FATs and site integrations to identify any potential issues or problems, and to ensure that the assets are operating within their design specifications.
3. Keeping accurate and up-to-date records: This includes maintaining accurate and detailed records of all maintenance activities, as well as records of any issues or problems that are identified. This information can be used to track the performance of the assets over time and to identify trends or patterns that may indicate potential issues.
4. Implementing a software and hardware management plan: This includes managing the software that is used to operate the assets, and includes activities such as updating software, patching vulnerabilities, and maintaining backups.
5. Cybersecurity: Implementing cybersecurity measures, such as firewalls, intrusion detection and prevention systems, and security information and event management systems, to protect the assets from cyber threats.
6. Training: Providing regular training to personnel who work with the assets, in order to ensure that they are familiar with the correct operation, maintenance and safety procedures.
7. Managing risks: Identifying potential risks, developing a risk management plan and monitoring and mitigating risks as the project progresses are important steps to ensure the safety and integrity of the assets.
Australian Control Engineering is specialised in operation technology network audit, automation design and implementation for utilities industry. If you would like to learn more about our capability and understand how we can help you accelerate your results, please Contact us.