Helping Improve IT security for Critical Infrastructure with the versiondog Data Management System
Founded in 1899, Emschergenossenschaft was the first German water association. A whole series of water associations shaped their associations after them, including Lippeverband in 1926. The two known as EGLV, have worked in close cooperation from the very beginning and operate under a common organizational structure. Together they operate 59 sewage treatment plants, 344 pumping stations, and 411 drain and rainwater treatment facilities and detention basins.
Over the years, EGLV has developed a diverse range of automation and IT equipment to maintain its infrastructure. Although much of it is centralized, maintenance is still no easy task.
On top of maintenance requirements, water associations also need to fulfill the requirements of the IT Security Act for critical infrastructure. Companies must demonstrate that their security measures and standards are in place and suitably robust. Part of this means having the ability to resume operations quickly after a disruption. They need to be able to reload the software of any crashed PLC in any control unit with the right version—fast and with certainty. Other standards that need to be considered include BSI data security standards and the set of risk management rules produced by the German Association of Transport Sciences (DVWG) for water service providers.
A lot of time and effort was being spent on trying to align versions of the control software programs on the different pieces of equipment. EGLV did not have the time or the bandwidth to do this themselves, so they used subcontractors for this. Since these processes were not done internally, not a lot of attention was on the backups or making necessary ongoing changes and adjustments.
- Consistent backups
- Quickly locate and load the correct version of any control unit
versiondog now manages all control devices used in EGLV facilities. Currently, their total number of automated control device projects is around 3,500. Add to that the parameter data and settings of numerous frequency converters, pressure sensors and level sensors and that brings the total number of versiondog components in use at EGLV to around 5,000. Work is also currently being done to enable AUVESY's software to monitor and access every single piece of automation equipment.
According to the head of the maintenance department, Ralf Hellmann, even the standard version of versiondog offers all that is needed to attain the required level of quality. The software is used for the version control of all digitized data, from complete PLC programs down to the parameter lists of individual components. For the networked installations, a series of around 120 snapshots are made a day. There is no prioritization; the important thing is that backups are made every day.
Ask Ralf Hellmann if versiondog has saved the association money and he answers with a categorical 'yes.' "It's difficult to say exactly how much money we have saved in total, but the amount is so high that the precise figure isn't really important."