Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) is a system of software and hardware elements allowing industrial organisations to gather and monitor real-time data. SCADA can also control industrial processes (locally or remotely), record events into a log file and directly network with devices like valves, motors, pumps, and sensors. SCADA systems often manage Industrial Control Systems (ICS).
Industrial Control Systems (ICS) are typically used in such industries as electric power, water and wastewater, oil and natural gas, transportation, chemical, pharmaceutical, pulp and paper, food and beverage, and discrete manufacturing (e.g., automotive, aerospace, and durable goods). SCADA systems are often found in the industrial control sectors and are generally applied to manage dispersed assets using centralised data acquisition and supervisory control.
SCADA provides revolutionary data for organisations. For instance, a SCADA system can quickly notify an operator if a batch or product is showing an unusually high number of errors. This notification of an error allows the operator to resolve the issues and prevent further problems and loss of the product. Such SCADA systems are essential for industrial organisations. They help maintain efficiency, communicate system issues so that it can help alleviate downtime, and the real-time data it produces can be used to formulate smarter decisions.
Industry Control Systems have become widely used in the manufacturing industry, and Transparency Market Research predicts the global ICS market will grow from $58 billion in 2014 to a huge $81 billion by 2021. In the same vein, SCADA systems are growing at an annual growth rate of 6.6%.
Due to this increase in demand and use of SCADA and ICS, it is crucial to have the best SCADA cyber security measures in place, especially since a large number of government agencies and organisations have encountered significant security challenges. Such issues include providing new technologies and partners with a high level of access into an organisation’s systems, introducing the potential for outside hackers who can infiltrate their control systems.
The data clearly shows that industrial control systems continue to be soft targets for adversaries. According to CyberX 2019 Global ICS & IIoT Risk Report:
NIST Special Publication 800-82 Guide to Industrial Control Systems (ICS) Security states that possible incidents an ICS may face include the following:
Control systems can face threats from numerous sources, including hostile governments, terrorist groups, disgruntled employees, malicious intruders, accidents and natural disasters as well as malicious or accidental actions coming from insiders. It’s crucial for businesses to keep the following threats and vulnerabilities in mind:
The baseline security strategy to be employed to industrial control networks include the following essential steps:
To sum everything up, here's a checklist to help you develop and implement a comprehensive and robust protection strategy:
Its also crucial to perform gap assessment according to the industry regulations including SCADA security compliance. Engage a dedicated SCADA security team to help you prepare an in-depth defence plan and employ a smart, secure architecture. Be sure to evaluate and constantly monitor the weaknesses in the overall network performing risk assessment, security testing, penetration testing, threat hunting and vulnerability scanning.
Every company needs to keep their SCADA security in check. Cyber-attacks can be the end to many companies, which is why we understand the importance of implementing SCADA security best practices to your business model.
Contact us for a review of your enterprise’s SCADA security. We endeavour to guide you towards up-to-code SCADA systems.
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