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Modeling IT Availability Risks in Smart Factories

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In the course of the ongoing digitalization of production, production environments have become increasingly intertwined with information and communication technology. As a consequence, physical production processes depend more and more on the availability of information networks. Threats such as attacks and errors can compromise the components of information networks. Due to the numerous interconnections, these threats can cause cascading failures and even cause entire smart factories to fail due to propagation effects. The resulting complex dependencies between physical production processes and information network components in smart factories complicate the detection and analysis of threats. Based on generalized stochastic Petri nets, the paper presents an approach that enables the modeling, simulation, and analysis of threats in information networks in the area of connected production environments. Different worst-case threat scenarios regarding their impact on the operational capability of a close-to-reality information network are investigated to demonstrate the feasibility and usability of the approach. Furthermore, expert interviews with an academic Petri net expert and two global leading companies from the automation and packaging industry complement the evaluation from a practical perspective. The results indicate that the developed artifact offers a promising approach to better analyze and understand availability risks, cascading failures, and propagation effects in information networks in connected production environments.


Miehle, Daniel; Häckel, Björn; Pfosser, Stefan; Übelhör, Jochen (2020): Modeling IT Availability Risks in Smart Factories. Business & Information Systems Engineering: Vol. 62, No. 4. DOI: 10.1007/s12599-019-00610-6. Springer. PISSN: 1867-0202. pp. 323-345