Case Study: A Natural Gas Distributor Solves Local Access Challenges

  • November 09, 2020
  • XonaSoftware
  • Case Study
Case Study: A Natural Gas Distributor Solves Local Access Challenges
Case Study: A Natural Gas Distributor Solves Local Access Challenges

The situation

This utility is a major distributor of natural gas in North America and serves millions of residential and commercial customers. This Local Distribution Company (LDC) needed a lightweight local wireless access solution at remote sites to replace old paper recording calibration methods. The technology needed to provide multi-factor authentication and secure access at the gas distribution “gate stations” without any data in-transit or data-atrest on endpoint and with strict role-based application visibility and control.

The challenge

Current solutions on the market such as token code based Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA), Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI), Virtual Private Networks (VPN), jump servers and Application Control with bastion hosts or firewalls required too much IT infrastructure, were too complex and were cost prohibitive for local gate station access in an operational technology environment. The solution needed to be simple and flexible enough to provide comprehensive secure access using multiple protocols and Serialover-IP.

The solution

Xona met this distributor’s stringent efficiency and cyber requirements with its patent-pending Xona platform. Xona combined modern MFA with Yubikeys, encrypted TLS browser-based display of VNC, RDP and SSH protocols, application access visibility and control as well as session logging and screen recording into a very lightweight din rail mounted appliance to deliver industrial-strength secure access to these critical infrastructure OT/ IIoT applications, including a HMI and pump. Xona also enabled centralized management and video screen encoding with its Remote Operations Access Manager (ROAM) for forensics, predictive analytics and training

The results

Increased user efficiency for local access
Utility workers and contractors can easily access gate station operational technology from a tablet or laptop using secure clientless multi-factor browser-based authentication.

Reduction in costs with simple deployment and centralized management and control
Utility now has a simple, secure and cost-effective solution for visibility and control over local gate station garnering access forensics for both cyber effectiveness and training.

Reduction of cyber risks with strong application access protection
Local access to Human Machine Interface (HMI) operational technology is protected with strong multi-factor authentication and with no data-at-rest or in-transit.

XONA platform

Architecture with Purdue Model

About XONA

Xona is the simple and secure user access platform for operational technology. Xona creates operational efficiencies through comprehensive user access visibility and control, utilizing protocol and system isolation, encrypted display, multi-factor authentication as well as session logging and recording of user access to any industrial application. As the world’s first zero-trust user access platform for critical infrastructure, Xona reduces costs,lowers cyber and operational risks, and increases public safety.

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