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This is how industrial PCs are properly protected

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Data from industrial PCs must be well backed up so that the machines can quickly resume operation after a fault. In such cases, a data backup system can protect against data loss. The decisive factor here is that the data backup software works independently of the operating system of the industrial PCs and is easy to use.

Data security is an important issue in industry, because almost every machine or system now has one Programmable logic controller (PLC) or an industrial PC (IPC). If these controls fail, the entire machine comes to a standstill. If there is a control failure, that always works loss of sensitive data which then have to be painstakingly restored. Provided that the data of the control was previously completely in a data backup system secured.

Data backup system: These obstacles must be overcome

However, this is not always easy. One reason for this is the functionality of the security systems available on the market, which usually access the operating system of the controller. Since different operating systems are often used side by side, especially in companies with a large machine park, the software has to interact with a large number of operating systems. This can lead to compatibility problems with the data backup system.

And there’s another obstacle that stands in the way of comprehensive data recovery in the event of a disaster: Traditional programs only back up files. However, a lot of data from the machine controls is not available as a file and is therefore not recorded by these backups. Another problem: Many companies use control systems where the installation of data backup software is not possible for security reasons because it interferes with the operating system and could therefore impair its function.

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Traditional programs are often extremely complex

The HMI specialists at Rose Systemtechnik also know how important it is to create a comprehensive backup of machine data. The company took over CRE Rösler Electronic GmbH in 2019 and since then has been supplying users with complete operating units consisting of a housing, support arm construction, industrial monitor and panel PC. Rose employees keep hearing from their customers that they have problems with professional data backup. In addition to the difficulties already mentioned, there is often a lack of IT knowledge, because many of these programs are demanding and not every company employs specialists who are familiar with this software.

Comprehensive data backup using DeviceImage

Rose Systemtechnik therefore offers its customers its own data backup system: The DeviceImage technology was developed by Waxar Data Saving Systems from Augsburg and differs fundamentally in terms of how it works from the previously available programs. The software not only saves data that is in file form, but also works bit-based. This means the technology also backs up data that falls through the cracks with traditional backup solutions.

Another advantage of DeviceImage is its independence from the operating system of the machine control. dr Jurij Ivastsuk-Kienbaum, founder of Waxar, explains the principle: “Standard data protection solutions cannot be started at all without the operating system. Our software, on the other hand, is supplied on a USB stick that the user only has to plug into the USB port of the machine control. You can start the data backup with just a few clicks and you don’t need any IT expertise.”

This is not only an important aspect for small and medium-sized companies that do not have the appropriate experts on site. Large companies with locations around the world also benefit from this solution, because in many countries there are always fluctuations in the power supply, which lead to machine failures. However, there are usually no IT specialists working in the regional branches, which is why data backup must be easy to carry out.

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The DeviceImage software can also capture data that is not available in file format. Image: Waxar Data Saving Systems

Data backup system independent of the operating system

In addition to the software, the USB stick also offers sufficient storage capacity for backing up the data, so that no additional storage medium is required. With the usual data volumes of 20 to 60 GB, the backup takes five minutes. The high speed is related to bit-based backup and would not be possible with file-based methods. “There are too many logical links between the individual data sectors to consider, so it would take much longer,” says Dr. Yuri Ivastsuk-Kienbaum. With DeviceImage, on the other hand, the data of a machine can be restored within a short time – the downtime is minimal.

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Since the solution also boots separately from the operating system, it can also work if the controller is infected with a virus, in contrast to the usual backup solutions. This functionality has another advantage for the user: DeviceImage does not change the operating system. This is of key importance because many companies have strict requirements regarding the use of third-party software in their IT policies. They fear that these programs will change the operating system, which can lead to malfunctions in the machines.

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On request, Rose can also deliver its panel PCs with DeviceImage. Image: Rose Systemtechnik, Waxar, auremar/AdobeStock

Various software variants available

The DeviceImage technology is available in different variants. For example, there is a USB hard drive for larger amounts of data, and the software can also be supplied on a hard drive that can be installed directly in the controller. Compact flash cards can also be used as data carriers for the program. “In cooperation with Waxar, we also offer particularly strong 1,024-bit data encryption. Customers won’t find anything else on the market,” explains Robert Hahn, senior development engineer at Rose Systemtechnik.

Waxar’s special security technology makes high-security encryption possible in the first place: “With the file-based backup process, such extensive encryption would take a lot of time. However, since we are the only company that secures the data bit by bit, there is hardly any noticeable delay compared to standard encryption,” says Dr. Ivastsuk Kienbaum. The data is also encrypted directly behind the interface. “You can therefore even save the data in the cloud without worrying – there is no risk of it being cracked,” assures the IT professional. Rose Systemtechnik will in future offer Waxar’s data backup solution on request to all customers who want to protect their machinery from expensive breakdowns.

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The author Katharina Lange is Head of Marketing at Rose Systemtechnik.

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