Arla is using a new anti-virus protection system created by Norway-based security company Norman ASA, which will protect the administration and process networks at 50 of Arla Foods' production sites. "Norman will provide antivirus protection for the production and process infrastructure," Jens Roed Andersen, chief information security officer, told FoodProductionDaily.com. "We need this after years of problems with the overall security at Arla." The move by one of Europe's largest dairies shows the importance of protecting a company's network from interference. These days, a shut down of a computer network can sometimes translate into a plant stoppage and loss of profits. Norman ASA said its new Norman Network Protection (NNP) system was tested at piloted at Arla Foods over the past six months. Arla has now signed a three-year contract for all its production sites. "While in earlier days process network were more or less isolated from the administration networks, there is now an increasing demand for connection between the two networks," Norman ASA stated. "Enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems are being connected to the process network and industrial ethernet is gaining territory on the process side. This of course makes these environments more vulnerable to viruses and other malware attacks." ERP software integrates any data and computer processes into a single unified system, allowing managers to monitor operational data from their processing and distribution networks. The NNP system works by forwarding any computer traffic through a transmission model, which as well as speeding up processing time, constantly scans files for any abnormalities. If any problems are found, the system then blocks the computers and network segments affected. NNP even has the technology to stop new and undiscovered worms and viruses before the system signals that it has found the detection, Andersen said. "The NNP approach enables us to add an extra layer of protection to our critical systems, without costly reconfiguration of the process equipment itself," he added. ERP can also help companies to manage the high number of transactions faced by the food and beverage industry supply chain, plan and execute customer deliveries and shipments down to the minute, reduce waste and manage shelf-life, meet safety, traceability and quality assurance standards, and optimise product yields.