Benefits for the client

Separately operated IT and OT infrastructures ensure maximum availability and strictest compliance for production systems



Geistlich Pharma AG



Pharma and Life Science



Analysis and consultancy on network and system integration; separately operated IT and OT infrastructure in line with ISA 99, IEC 62443, GxP and ISO 27001

«Early on, Geistlich started employing OT systems in its production systems that were virtualised according to modern principles. However, having a shared infrastructure for IT and OT systems created dependencies that made it difficult to maintain them independently, causing operational frictions in both areas. With the support of Axians, Geistlich was able to make the transition to separately operated IT and OT infrastructures, and then implement these effectively while keeping everything running. This has significantly improved the availability and compliance levels of our production systems.»
Urs Iten, Director Group IT, Geistlich Pharma AG

The challenge

Geistlich Pharma AG runs numerous pharmaceutical manufacturing facilities and automation systems across its production sites. Against this backdrop, the company’s increasingly crucial IT services have an important function in production and also serve other international units of the business. Specialised machines, industrial controls and computer-aided OT systems (SCADA) play an important role in production. This technical network adds to the subject-specific expertise of the company and its employees by supporting people in operation of equipment, visualisation of production phases and recording of process data for quality assurance purposes within the highly regulated field of pharmaceutical production. The fact that production equipment has a lifespan of ten to twenty years, whereas IT technologies have shorter lifespans in comparison, is another factor that makes connecting the areas of IT and OT less than straightforward.more difficult. In fact, this presents operational challenges and risks for any manufacturing company, and these are growing all the time as the two areas converge. Security is a perennial concern: vulnerabilities and malware pose risks that systems, data and products could become compromised. Potential attacks or unauthorised access to IT and OT infrastructures could cause severe disruptions to production. Any manipulation of production data must be prevented so that the validity of quality assurance can be guaranteed at all times.

The solution

When it comes to meeting challenges such as the networking of production processes and systems while following best practice as regards cyber security, business continuity and compliance with internal company or regulatory guidelines, it is important that the sometimes very divergent needs of IT and OT are taken into account and reconciled evenly. One key to this lies in integrating the IT and OT disciplines and establishing cooperation between them. The fundamental task here is to bring these two internal corporate worlds together, and to develop and implement joint solution concepts. That’s because it has never been more important to ensure that all systems are permanently available and at the same time, constantly protected. In this context, Axians offers companies and associated suppliers of process equipment specialist advice on how to integrate IT-based systems into production networks, as well as on how to plan for the deployment of IT and OT infrastructures. Axians then works closely with clients to carry out the installation and qualification work. The architecture used in these solutions is based on industry-specific standards such as ISA 99, IEC 62443; information security according to ISO 27001 and GxP.

The benefits

With its broad network of experts and an interlocking project and service portfolio that even transcends national borders, Axians is able to handle complex projects from a central location. This means that our valued clients receive a comprehensive service with a focus on security and uninterrupted operations in the conflict zone between IT and OT. In turn, this frees up time for the client’s internal teams, allowing them to concentrate more strongly on their core, business-related tasks.