No matter the technical skills and experience level of your staff, it can take a while to drill down to the problem, much less resolve it, on the phone. Paying for service engineers to travel to your location to resolve a minor glitch is an unnecessary expense. “If you’re using data-acquisition technology to eliminate the time delays, redundant paperwork and misinformation inherent in human-based information gathering, why not use technology to get the real-time picture of your service issues on your machinery?,” asked Gary Benedix, Sales Manager at SYSCON PlantStar.
PlantStar uses modern communication technologies to securely and quickly perform remote troubleshooting, diagnostics and other tasks over the internet. The system, called Rapid Connect™, is provided on a customer-initiated secure virtual private network (VPN) connection between the machinary on the plant floor and PlantStar’s secure internal service network.
What is a VPN?
A virtual private network (VPN) is a method of secure computer networking on an otherwise public network, like the internet. A VPN allows users to directly share information in real time between remote locations. A VPN provides secure information transport by authenticating users and encrypting data to prevent unauthorized persons from reading the information transmitted.
Large corporations, educational institutions, and government agencies use VPN technology to enable remote users to securely connect to a private network.
Your Data Stays Private with Rapid Connect™
A justifiable concern for any corporation is the security and stability of its network. PlantStar addressed those concerns when designing their Rapid Connect™ program and also took into consideration the need for a flexible system that could meet many different IT environments. “We are more than willing to spend the time with a customer, usually the IT staff, to explain the products we chose for our VPN connection service and how it works,” said Mr. Benedix. “The customer is often surprised to find out how much control they have over the VPN,” he added. To initiate Rapid Connect™, a customer
calls PlantStar engineering support. The PlantStar engineer asks the customer to initiate a VPN connection by operating a key switch. A VPN tunnel then connects the customer to PlantStar’s service network through the internet. (In some cases, the VPN is always on so PlantStar has ongoing machine access for preventative maintenance. That’s the customer’s choice, however.) Firewall settings prevent Plantstar from accessing a customer’s internal network without authorization and authentication, and PlantStar can only access PlantStar’s components via VPN. An additional level of security is the encryption of the data between the customer and Plantstar.