With the release of a new cybersecurity product this week, Industrial conglomerate
has taken anther step in its transformation into a software company.
Honeywell (ticker: HON) announced the release of a product called Honeywell Forge for cybersecurity, intended to protect critical industrial infrastructure from cyberattacks.
The rollout is part of Honeywell’s strategy to become a software-industrial company. “We have about $4 billion in software sales,” CEO Darius Adamczyk said in an interview.
Honeywell isn’t selling software solutions for everyone, as
(MSFT) does with its Office suite of products. “We only operate in domains we know, we only talk to customers where we’ve got rich install bases,” Adamczyk said.
Larry O’Brien, vice president of research at ARC Advisory Group, said that Honeywell’s “unified suite of applications, services and products can address a range of end-user cybersecurity requirements from asset discovery and monitoring and secure remote access to fully managed services.”
Cybersecurity in industry is a little different than consumer applications. For starters, there are many more devices and sensors to track and protect. That’s “asset discovery,” according to O’Brien.
“We’ve been a provider of cybersecurity solutions for more than 10 years, Jeff Zindel, vice president of Honeywell Connected Enterprise cybersecurity said. “The Forge platform is new. It integrates [all] Honeywell software capabilities into a single pane of glass for users, including cybersecurity applications.”
Zindel is careful to explain the different between cybersecurity for information technology versus operational technology, or OT. Software that runs oil refineries and tracks planes can never go down, making OT cybersecurity solutions more challenging. Consumer devices, on the other hand, can crash from time to time, or data can be lost to computer viruses, without catastrophic consequences. “Instances of ransomware and business disruption are on the rise,” Zindel said.
Morgan Stanley noted in a Wednesday research report that the number the number of cyberattacks has increased 60% since 2015.
(FDX), for instance, experienced a major disruption, costing the company more than $300 million in 2017, when a cyberattack called Peyta disrupted TNT Express, acquired by FedEx in 2016. And the specter of industrial cyberattacks became international news after the Stuxnet virus disrupted Iranian uranium enrichment facilities in 2012.
Honeywell Forge is the company’s platform for software applications across all its business units: building controls, aerospace, energy and logistics. “Think of Forge like a platform,” Vimal Kapur, CEO of Building Technologies, said. “Our systems are more like [iPhone]—it’s a platform—you can load any app and it works, but you can also talk, and you can also text.”
Honeywell’s software transition has been under way since Adamczyk took over for David Cote in 2017. Almost 50% of the Honeywell’s 18,000 engineers are now software engineers and the company isn’t done hiring.
Honeywell stock rose 0.7% to $166.85 on Wednesday, in line with the gain for the
Dow Jones Industrial Average.
Write to Al Root at firstname.lastname@example.org