Automation Cybersecurity: Connectivity’s Double-Edged Sword Presented by Marc Ayala | AIChE

Automation Cybersecurity: Connectivity’s Double-Edged Sword Presented by Marc Ayala

Wednesday, June 22, 2022,
9:00pm to 10:00pm
Virtual / Online

Automation Cybersecurity: Connectivity’s Double-Edged Sword


Today’s automation systems are much more highly connected than they were at the start of this millennium. Advances in technology, the cost of computing, and the speed of communication in just the last seven years have brought industries higher performance, optimization, visibility, advanced system diagnostics with high reliability and availability fault tolerance, analytics, and production yields that unquestionably have revolutionized all industry sectors. Convergence of site automation system technologies and traditional enterprise IT systems have become more prevalent and provide opportunities such as the remote mobile worker, integration into MES and ERP systems, and remote access for troubleshooting and support. This is one side of the blade most sought after.


The flip side to these efforts and strategies has also brought untraditional risk to these systems. Risks with low likelihood and questionably low to mid impact are no longer the case as integrated control and safety critical systems have indirect enterprise network connection into one digital ecosystem vastly connected to the public internet.


This is the side of the blade that can and has cut deep. Cyber actors using flaws in software, lack of security controls, and public connectivity to enterprise IT systems have and will continue to leverage victims’ networks and systems for nefarious means, whether that is ransomware, tampering and manipulation, or denial of service and view.


This talk will cover strategies, standards, and good engineering practice that asset owner operators, integrators, and vendor delivery service groups should be doing, as well as a walk through recent cyber intrusions and impacts analysis. 


Marco (Marc) Ayala is a process automation professional with over 25 years of experience working in petrochemical facilities where he designed, engineered, and maintained process automation, safety systems, and integrated networks.  Marco is active in the oil and gas, chemicals industry, maritime domain including offshore facilities. Mr. Ayala is an established and respected instructor for ISA cyber courses. He has contributed to the ISA courses IC33, IC34 and IC37. Marco was a question writer for the SANS GICSP Certification and post exam reviewer. He is a member and contributor to the AMSC Cybersecurity efforts as Chair, InfraGard member; Sector Chief of the Maritime Domain - Cross Sector Council for ports and terminals. Marco served on the DHS and Industry working group that developed the ‘Roadmap to Secure Control Systems in the Chemical Sector’ in 2009.

This meeting is free and open to all, not just to Virtual Local Section members.




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9:00 PM ET Wednesday, June 22, 2022 Register in advance for this meeting:


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