Last month Tridium released its new analytics tool that will enable it's customers and partners to better manage Big Data, drive operational efficiencies and capture cost savings. The Niagara Analytics Framework is the only data analytics engine native to Tridium’s Niagara Framework, which apparently has more than 450,000 installed instances worldwide.
The new system combines historical perspectives with real-time analytics to reveal patterns in large sets of data by tracking events against business and operational rules defined by individual users.
This responsive data analytics approach provides deeper insight into the root cause of issues and recommends proper remediation, moving the user from a reactive response to a more powerful proactive position.
“The advent of the Internet of Things is driving massive amounts of data to be created every minute of every day. This “Big Data” alone has no value without analytics that make it actionable. Our focus in developing this tool was to arm the Niagara Community with a system that creates business value out of data and does so in real-time,” said Nino DiCosmo, president and general manager of Tridium. “The Niagara Analytics Framework gives users the powerful advantage of being proactive.”
The Niagara Analytics platform utilizes open API’s that support third-party visualization and other complementary applications. The product is not limited to a specific application or industry. For example, it can be applied to energy, manufacturing, smart cities, data centres and other environments. In addition, it does not require advanced or specialised programming skills to use and can run in the cloud or on a network and be accessed by any mobile device.
“The Niagara Analytics Platform is part of the aggressive evolution of Niagara as we aim to innovate, grow and develop this platform into the most significant software of its kind in the marketplace” added DiCosmo.
However, just last year, Niagara showed potentially catastrophic vulnerabilities when, security researchers from Cylance, Billy Rios and Terry McCorkle found the system to be susceptible to hacking.
The vulnerability in the Tridium Niagara AX Framework allowed attackers to remotely access the system’s config.bog file, which holds all of the system’s configuration data, including usernames and passwords to log in to operator work stations and control the systems that are managed by them.
The security research suggested that these weaknesses would allow attackers to remotely control electronic door locks, lighting systems, elevators, electricity and boiler systems, video surveillance cameras, alarms and other critical building facilities. Needless to say, such vulnerability would render the system unusable by the majority of customers.
Such systems would normally be protected if they were not connected to the Internet. However, as Rios and McCorkle pointed out in their demonstration, Tridium’s own product documentation for the system touts the fact that it’s ideal for remote management over the internet.
Soon after the research was released, Tridium alerted its customer base and spokesperson Mark Hamel released a statement regarding a patch to fix the issue. Adding “The vast majority of Niagara AX systems are behind firewalls and VPNs — as we recommend — but clearly, as Rios and McCorkle have shown, there are many systems potentially at risk.”
Tridium’s Niagara Framework is already the platform for millions of control systems sold by the company worldwide. In a Washington Post story last year, the company said it believed attacks on its systems were unlikely because the systems were obscure and hackers didn’t traditionally target such systems.
Regardless of the current willingness of hackers to attack Niagara Framework, such vulnerabilities will need to be addressed to ease fear of current and potential users alike.
The Niagara Framework and its new analytical software provides unquestionable cost saving and efficiency advantages to its users. If the system is to gain from all the advantages of being connected to the wider Internet, it must ensure these advantages are not accompanied by substantial security concerns.
In our research on The Internet of Things in Smart Buildings, we discuss how platforms like Tridium Niagara are helping to enable Wireless Sensor Networks, bringing true connectivity to buildings - http://memoori.com/portfolio/internet-things-smart-buildings-2014-2020/