Endian is a leading cybersecurity manufacturer in the field of Industry 4.0. Their goal is to set technological standards in the market for highly secure data communication. The company was founded in 2003 together with a team of experienced network specialists and security experts. They are located at Bolzano in South Tyrol. 

Endian’s product portfolio ranges from cybersecurity solutions for SMBs to hotspot management and solutions for industrial production facilities. In addition to the enterprise products, the company offers a free Community Edition, which is one of the most popular open source UTMs with over 2.2 million downloads.

Interview with Raphael Vallazza, Founder and CEO of Endian.

Easy Engineering: What are the main areas of activity of the company?

Raphael Vallazza: Digitalisation is gaining momentum and the degree of networking within companies is increasing enormously. As a result, the need for network security solutions for industrial companies is also increasing, and this is the area on which we want to focus in the future. 

With the Endian Secure Digital Platform, we offer a solution that allows machines to be networked, remotely accessible and secured at the same time. The solution also enables the management of roles and authorizations – a very important aspect of IT security.

E.E: What’s the news about new products?

R.V: All our products are built on our own operating system called EndianOS, a hardened Linux that provides outstanding IT security and scalability. We revised EndianOS completely and launched the latest version 6.5 at the end of last year. With this we built the basis for a lot of new, outstanding features. One of these features is network awareness, that helps to visualize network activities so enterprises know what is going on at all times.

With our new industrial gateways, it is possible to set up to 32 network zones. This allows them to create individual protection zones for different areas of the company according to their risk level.

We also introduced a feature for Edge Computing that allows companies to use the processing power of our Gateways to run applications through Docker, so you can secure your network and at the same time monitor and analyze your devices and machines.

At the same time we also see that small and medium-sized enterprises in particular hesitate to invest in IT security because of the costs. This is a fatal decision, because if a cyberattack causes a complete stop of a production line or a factory the costs are infinitely higher. That’s why we have created a way for companies to continue using existing hardware, such as industrial PCs. Our Endian 4i EdgeX Gateway is now also available as a hardware and virtual solution. Any X86-based hardware can thus be integrated into our powerful connectivity and cybersecurity solution. 

E.E: At what stage is the market where you are currently active?

R.V: The market for cybersecurity solutions is in a strong growth phase, which we expect to continue for a considerable period of time. There are several reasons for this: First, as I said, the industry is just about to understand the vulnerability of  networked assets. Cyber criminals can reach these assets via an internet connection that has not existed in the past.

Then there is the side of the attackers, who have now learned that a lot of money can be made with cybercrime without taking great risks. Of course, they will continue to perfect and expand their “business model”.

Digital technology is developing at a rapid pace. Artificial intelligence in particular will also facilitate cybercrime. With the ChatGPT chatbot for example, it is already possible to write phishing emails that are indeed very authentic.

And last but not least, a tightening of legal requirements in many countries means that companies have to invest in cyber security.

E.E: What can you tell us about market trends?

R.V: In addition to comprehensive protection, user-friendliness is a very important aspect of cybersecurity. If the solutions are not easy to use, they will not be accepted by the employees and in the worst case they will not be used in the way they should. 

The simplification and gamification of applications will therefore become more of a focus in the future and we at Endian have been working according to this principle from the very beginning.

In addition, the European Union launched the NIS2 directive, which increases the cyber security requirements for European companies and aims to make the European economy resilient and less vulnerable. By October 2024, the member states must have transferred the directive into national law. Even if companies still have some time left, they should prepare for the implementation now, because the regulations are extensive.

E.E: What are the most innovative products marketed?

R.V: The Endian secure digital platform. It is not only a simple product, but a complete solution to connect and protect various kinds of assets. This helps to reach compliance with the IEC 62443 Cybersecurity standard for Industrial environments as well as NIS2.

E.E: What estimations do you have for 2023?

R.V: 2023 should be a turning point for Industrial Cybersecurity. We are seeing that the need for security solutions in this field is evolving from awareness to real market demand. Companies have been focusing on the challenges caused by COVID in the last few years, which were mainly related to supply chain and operational issues. Now that the supply chain is getting back to normal the Digital Transformation is becoming the main topic again, putting the focus on Cybersecurity. So the market is starting to grow very fast, also NIS2 as well as other regulatory compliance requirements will drive the market even more in the next few years.