And what about the next security threat?
It’s a familiar pattern…
Last year, the Log4j bug sent shockwaves through the world of software security and prompted a feverish round of security updates. Six or so years ago, the release of Window 10 began to wreak havoc with whole swaths of applications and devices, driving massive efforts to validate, update and reconfigure machines and systems. Now, Windows 11 is here, kicking off another round of uncertainty, compatibility testing and workarounds. And, of course, it’s anyone’s guess what and when (not if) the next big security threat will arise.
This all has huge implications for the electronics manufacturing industry.
Lately, Mark Laing, Product Marketing Manager at Siemens Digital Industries Software, has been thinking about the impact of new operating systems and security updates on process engineering software. He discussed this in an interview with What’s New in Electronics during the recent IPC APEX 2022 show held in San Diego.
He noted that as there is no certainty that older software will continue to work on the new operating platform, any software that is a few years old is now being looked at very closely. “Older software needs to be validated on the new platform to make sure it will be compatible. But some of the older applications might not be validated. And so, there’s an opportunity here to reevaluate the broader picture, to look at the processes and applications that are in place.” This in turn opens the opportunity to improve those processes, to “not just replace them, but reinvent and re-optimize, based on better ways of working.”
As for new security patches and other software releases, Mark emphasizes the importance of ongoing updates and maintenance. “The more you keep up-to-date on an annual basis, the better you are off when something significant comes along that you have to react to.”
He pointed out that in the electronics manufacturing industry, this takes investment from both the software and equipment vendors as well as the customers. “These are long-term applications that need to be maintained. They must be kept up-to-date within the development and R&D organizations of these companies so they will ultimately work on the target machines. So, there’s a need on both sides; as a software vendor to create the updates, as well on the customer side to keep deploying them.”
Mark has a lot more to share about the implications of new operating systems and security updates across electronics design, engineering and manufacturing processes.