A Top Threat to Industrial Facilities: USB Thumb Drives

Honeywell Industrial Cybersecurity launched their Secure Media Exchange (SMX) product and their customers were thrilled. The product addressed a common vulnerability in secure industrial plants: safely transferring files in areas of the facility without internet access. These “air-gapped” areas lacked connectivity for security reasons, but faced additional threats since insecure thumb drives were often used for file transfers.

While the product initially surpassed all client expectations, there was one significant roadblock to success: SMX had a cloud-based back end to process and record information, but a very minimal user interface. In fact, the only user interface the device had was to show how to plug in the USB drive. This left no option for customers to see what thumb drives had been scanned or the status of the scanned files.

A Vision, and a Challenge

The Honeywell team envisioned an innovative solution: building a cloud portal for customers to be able to see the data and manage it on their own. However, since their developers were already consumed with the core product, they didn’t have enough bandwidth to tackle such a significant new effort. Plus, they needed to call on additional expertise to write the commercial-grade web application their customers were requesting.

Honeywell had utilized outsourced software development in the past, but never for a customer-facing product. We suggested an initial 16-week trial engagement to demonstrate our ability to not only deliver value, but also produce rock-solid code ready for production deployment and daily use by customers.

Making the Impossible Happen

From the very start, Honeywell team members thought they were envisioning a solution that couldn’t possibly be completed in the required time frame—but Ascendle delivered on time and on budget. Thanks to the transparency of our Managed Software DeliverySM process, Honeywell stakeholders always knew what was completed, how much work remained, and how long it would take.

The initial 16-week trial engagement was extended to multiple years as we continued to move the product forward. Over time, our partnership grew to include additional development initiatives and we continue to provide product design and development services to support Honeywell Industrial Cybersecurity’s business goals.