In a move that bolsters its IIoT security capabilities, Honeywell announced this week that it will acquire Nextnine and its OT security management software.
Nextnine is a long-established provider of trusted and robust centralized security center software for industrial control solutions used across asset-intensive industries and manufacturing, according to Ian Hughes, an analyst covering the Internet of Things for 451 Research. Nextnine's flagship technology, ICS Shield, protects industrial sites from cyber security attacks and enables remote monitoring of assets. Bringing Nextnine into the fold will complement an already strong capability within Honeywell’s cyber security group.
“Honeywell is gaining a respected name, and Nextnine's customer set, to add to its portfolio and helping to position itself more strongly in the evolution of Industrial IoT,” Hughes said via email interview.
Security concerns continue to be a barrier to IoT success for operational technology and Industrial IoT users as digital transformation efforts continue in industries that use these systems, according to a recent Gartner report titled “Survey Analysis: 2016 Internet of Things Backbone Survey.”
Nextnine's security solutions will be a key enabler of Honeywell Connected Plant, which collectively refers to technology and services to enable Industrial IoT projects, according to a Honeywell press release announcing the acquisition.
With Nextnine, Honeywell aims to give customers a unified view of security operations across sites. Nextnine software is currently used at more than 6,200 sites globally across the oil and gas, utility, chemical, mining, and manufacturing sectors. Previously, ICS Shield had to be deployed separately for each control system vendor, resulting in multiple and separate installations at a single customer site. With this acquisition, customers will be able to deploy and operate a single system, thereby simplifying and better securing their entire site with Honeywell's capability to provide multivendor solutions, according to the release.
Security solutions in Honeywell’s portfolio include Risk Manager, software that monitors and analyzes data from process control systems for cyber security risk, and Secure Media Exchange (SMX), which aims to help protect plants against threats from removable media such as USB flash drives.
As the industrial sector continues to come to terms with disruptive, fast-moving changes with Industrial IoT when it is traditionally used to longer cycle times, it will rely on lengthy relationships with operational technology partners such as Honeywell to help in the transition.
“We are seeing a mixture of M&A and partnering from the large industrial providers as they each explore how they will play in the IIoT market,” Hughes said.