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Interview with Benjamin Pieritz, CEO of TRIOVEGA GmbH

Benjamin Pieritz, CEO of TRIOVEGA GmbH
Benjamin Pieritz, CEO of TRIOVEGA GmbH

With the rapidly advancing digitalization, cybersecurity is at the top of the agenda for many companies. Especially in manufacturing plants, cyberattacks can cripple entire productions for months. Protection mechanisms are needed here that reliably secure the operational technology against external attacks. Such as edge.SHIELDOR, a multiple award-winning Operational Technology security solution from TRIOVEGA GmbH. Wirtschaftsforum spoke with CEO Benjamin Pieritz about how to make software updates for machinery and equipment redundant while simultaneously increasing cybersecurity and data connectivity.

Wirtschaftsforum: Mr. Pieritz, you originally come from the pharma-biotech industry and led the North America business of Werum IT Solutions, the leading provider of software for production control and monitoring for the pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical industries, until the end of 2019. What motivated you to move to TRIOVEGA in 2020?

Benjamin Pieritz: My passion and background are shop floor management and manufacturing. TRIOVEGA has been in the market for 25 years and comes from the field of software engineering for industry in Germany. My goal is to develop the company from an engineering service provider to an international product and solution provider.

Wirtschaftsforum: At this year's German Stevie Awards, a prestigious business award for the German-speaking corporate world in Europe, you achieved outstanding success. Your product edge.SHIELDOR was awarded multiple golds. What is it about?

Benjamin Pieritz: edge.SHIELDOR is an operational technology security solution that we developed together with our parent company Viega, and it underscores our leading position in the field of industrial production safety and efficiency. During my time in the USA, I realized that cybersecurity has a major impact on the shop floor. Attacks can paralyze entire productions for months. Here in Germany, every third company becomes a victim of a cyberattack. edge.SHIELDOR helps companies minimize cyber risks in production, protect their networks from threats, and thus increase their operational efficiency. The special thing about it is that we essentially put a 'bell jar' over the existing production facilities, so they can continue to operate and yet meet the current security norms and standards from the outside. The 'bell jar' is continuously updated, while software updates for machines and facilities become redundant.

TRIOVEGA Operational Technology Security Solution edge.SHIELDOR
At the German Stevie® Awards 2024, the operational technology security solution edge.SHIELDOR was awarded multiple gold medals

Wirtschaftsforum: Does that mean companies can save money and still enhance cyber security and data connectivity?

Benjamin Pieritz: Usually, increased security involves more effort. However, we keep that effort away from the machines because the security solution is set up virtually in the server room. Companies can thus save up to 80% on costs. At the same time, we resolve the conflict in production digitalization between security and connectivity with edge.SHIELDOR. No other company in the world does this. And switching off to have more security cannot be a sustainable solution. One customer was close to tears because, thanks to edge.SHIELDOR, they could finally use their usual tools again.

Wirtschaftsforum: So, a unique solution that increases security and saves costs. Do you see any challenges nonetheless?

Benjamin Pieritz: Our biggest challenge is creating awareness among customers. That is why, in addition to edge.SHIELDOR, we have a service called Factory Insights that builds on this and aims to achieve sustainable process improvements driven by data. For example, a copper casting plant always produced 25% scrap; we found out why within three days and reduced the scrap to 1%. edge.SHIELDOR is the enabler for secure connectivity in the context of Industry 4.0, and Factory Insights supports in improving the processes. I am firmly convinced that we achieve sustainability by making production processes more efficient.

Wirtschaftsforum: Are you also active abroad?

Benjamin Pieritz: Mainly within the EU, but we are currently expanding to the USA. The market for cybersecurity is growing very fast; 25% of cyberattacks target manufacturing. Within cybersecurity, the area of Operation Technology security is the fastest growing. We attend many trade fairs. The first step for many customers is to establish visibility of what assets they have. Many work with firewalls, and eventually, the network looks like Swiss cheese because it has so many holes.