Companies are increasingly moving their IT infrastructure to the cloud. However, the environmental simulation industry is still very cautious, where isolated computer networks are widespread. In several questions to Christian Schöner, Product Manager Software at Weiss Technik, we clarify how the company wants to convince its customers to use the cloud with the control software S!MPATI online.
Weiss Technik manufactures test equipment and complete systems for environmental simulation. What can users simulate with it?
Depending on the particular unit, a temperature, climate, vibration, corrosion, emission, altitude, pressure or combined stress tests can be carried out. Weiss Technik supplies everything from series designs to customised systems. The common features are high reproducibility and precise test results.
Test systems for lithium-ion energy storage systems are currently highly relevant for e-mobility. They simulate external loads. For example, due to rapid temperature changes, high or low temperatures, humidity, mechanical stress and corrosion.
Users won’t get far with test equipment alone. Which software enables the control and management of the test benches?
With our S!MPATI control software, test benches can be controlled and measured values documented. With S!MPATI online, cloud connection can now also be realised easily and securely. The software enables the management of testing facilities – even across locations. In part, it has functions that S!MPATI does not offer.
For which testing scenarios is S!MPATI online particularly suitable?
Generally, S!MPATI online can be used for any type of test scenario in the environment of Weiss Technik products. Therefore, S!MPATI online is suitable for every operator of testing facilities who needs a quick visualisation of the system states and their test data. That means from anywhere in the world, at any time and without particularly high demands on the customer infrastructure.
What are the advantages of the S!MPATI online control software?
Most importantly: the software increases security in terms of data loss. All of the data from the testing facilities is automatically transferred to the cloud via a secure connection. In addition, the user can access the data as needed, regardless of location. Automated evaluations or test reports can be created quickly and easily at any time from anywhere.
The test reports contain the entire test documentation, including graphic evaluations, test images and system protocols. S!MPATI online generates test reports based on a Word template in accordance with DIN EN 60068-2-38. The documentation thus complies with the industry standard. Another advantage: Word templates can be easily adapted to your own needs and corporate design.
What does the software do? How does it ensure the resilience of the data?
S!MPATI online simplifies the cloud-based organisation of tests and preparation of test reports. One of the most important advantages, however, is the redundant data storage. This means that the software stores measurement results, device information and test reports in the cloud – in addition to local data storage. This means that data is better protected against loss – even if fire, water, storm or malware destroy the information at a location. It also corresponds to Rule No. 1 from Dell Technologies’ 2020 Backup Study “Store at least one copy off-site”.
The importance of protecting against the loss of test data is evident from a requirement of the legislator: In many industries, process data must be completely traceable for quality verification. Data loss makes traceability impossible and, depending on the scenario, can be a costly and unnecessary risk that should be addressed early on. For example, with products like S!MPATI online.
Laboratories for environmental reporting often still use computers without an internet connection for security reasons. In addition, old software versions are widespread. What solution does Weiss Technik have for legacy systems? How is the digitalisation of the test chambers carried out?
The cloud version is backward compatible until S!MPATI 2016. In addition, it supports our test chambers from year of manufacture 1999. That’s why legacy systems can be easily connected to the cloud. Installing S!MPATI online is not rocket science. The user simply applies for an account for S!MPATI online at Weiss Technik. They then download a gateway software developed by Weiss Technik itself from the Weiss website and install it. After calling up the gateway, the user enters the previously requested account information and logs in with their access data. Done: S!MPATI online is ready for use.
Companies in the environmental simulation industry have many reservations about connecting their systems to the cloud. How does Weiss Technik protect their sensitive data?
The use of the cloud is inextricably linked to trust in the cloud solution provider. Weiss Technik ensures the highest level of data security through a range of measures. The security of S!MPATI online therefore begins even before it is stored in the cloud. The gateway takes over the transmission of the data. This establishes the connection between the local S!MPATI and the cloud. Thanks to in-house programming, clean code without backdoors to unauthorised “readers” is guaranteed.
A strong advantage for the operators of the test chambers: Even with tests that have been running for months, no data is lost if the connection to the cloud is interrupted. The software stores all data on the local computer in a temporary file and automatically transfers all data buffered in this way to the cloud as soon as the interruption no longer exists.
There is another security feature that prevents the introduction of malware into the cloud. The user can only access the cloud data via the web. Uploading viruses or Trojans through a compromised computer is therefore virtually impossible.
Moreover, any cloud service is only as secure as its hosting platform: S!MPATI online uses the tried and tested Microsoft Azure. This secure cloud service is already used by renowned companies from various industries. Automatic updates ensure that users are always kept up to date. The data storage location is in Europe and complies with the provisions of the GDPR.
Multifactor login is an important security feature. What does the multifactor solution look like with S!MPATI? How is the security of data transmission guaranteed?
Multifactor authentication is an important security criterion for cloud systems today. This ensures that a user is authenticated not only via a password, but also via a second method (multi-factor). S!MPATI online offers customers the option of authenticating themselves by e-mail in addition to their password. Therefore, a login is only possible when one’s e-mail address has also been confirmed. When it comes to our customers' data, we naturally place extreme importance on ensuring that the data transfer and the entire communication (API, data access, IoT communication) is as secure as possible. For this requirement we use a key exchange with RSA 2048bits and an encryption of the communication with SHA256 (RSA); furthermore TLS1.2 and TLS1.3 are available. This means that we are in compliance with the state of the art.