SCADA or Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition networks are built using both computer software and hardware parts. These parts work together to deliver the essential monitoring and management services for various assets in remote location. They perform within the infrastructure and bring about various improvements in performance, reporting, alarming and many other tasks. The biggest advantage of the SCADA services is that you are able to remotely and accurately monitor critical infrastructure without actually being there.
The fact that the SCADA services also use data communication networks also exposes them to various security risks and threats. Companies need to invest in various strategies and steps in order to mitigate these risks. For example, there is a need to protect the infrastructure from any of the cyber threats that could potentially compromise the normal operations of the infrastructure.
The SCADA services are typically used in the monitoring of various critical aspects of production processes. They also operate their control systems in order to ensure the smooth provisioning of critical resources that will ensure that the processes run smoothly. The original SCADA systems were built primarily for the passive monitoring and reporting and the security of these systems from external threats was never put into serious consideration.
But with time, technology has evolved and today’s control systems operate in a completely different technological setting from the one in which they were built a few decades back. The biggest issue is with regards to the cyber threats over data communications networks. While a lot of SCADA services deliver top-notch functionality, they are lacking in terms of the security of the overall system. If a hacker succeeds in penetrating the networks, the resulting impairment of the SCAFA networks could have very serious consequences. Check PARASYN for more details.
Companies that design SCADA services must, therefore, adapt certain best practices that will help them provide the best security for the SCADAs. There are certain actions that must be taken in order to secure their legacy networks. Here are some of best practices that companies should consider implementing in order to ensure that they are on the safe side when it comes to SCADA security:
Hardening the parameter:- Companies with these systems must separate the plant network on which the SCADA is based from the office network from where most attacks are likely to emanate-not from staff members, but cyber attackers exploiting security loopholes in the office networks.
Have Defense In Depth: Companies should go beyond just the perimeter and implement security across all layers of the control network. This will provide a second line of defense at various points in the system in case a malware breaches the security perimeter.
Remote access: Remote access is one of the most common causes of security breaches in plants. In case there are people who need to be given this kind of access to perform maintenance and other functions, it is advisable to do this over very secure virtual private networks or VPNs.
Companies generally have some inertia when it comes to the implementation of cyber-security initiatives until an attack or breach occurs. To protect yourself against such an eventuality, it is advisable to anticipate cyber attacks and take pro-active steps to prevent them.
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