Cyber Security for Industrial Control Systems

15.05.2020 Read
Cyber Security for Industrial Control Systems

It is no secret that humans make mistakes. In order to reduce the damages and harms caused by human error, cyber security is a must for industrial control systems. Keep reading to learn more.

Unfortunately, humans make mistakes. There are many reasons behind this fact, such as the limited capacity of our working memory or our short attention span. Regardless of our experience, no matter how well trained we are, we all make mistakes, and it is okay. Mostly. Sometimes, human error leads to serious consequences and causes harm. In order to avoid such situations, implementing industrial control systems is essential. In this article, we will discuss what industrial control systems and how they can be kept safe. Keep reading to learn more!

What are industrial control systems?

Industrial control system (abbreviated as ICS) is an umbrella term that refers to the supervisory control and data acquisition (also known as SCADA) systems, programmable logic controllers (also known as PLC), distributed control systems (also known as DCS) and such.

Industrial control systems aim to streamline various business practices related to industrial production but most importantly, they reduce the human error rate by optimization. Industrial control systems are often employed in critical industrial facilities like thermal plants, power generation, heavy industries, distribution systems, nuclear plants and water treatment facilities.

Why are industrial control systems necessary?

As we have mentioned before, human error is almost indispensable. In order to alleviate the stress and reduce the risks related to human error, industrial control systems were developed.

Industrial control systems aim to offer distributed control, process automation and process monitoring.

With distributed control, it is possible to reduce vulnerabilities and risk factors associated with industrial production. Moreover, the efficiency benefits greatly from it.

Process automation allows the employees to work faster and get more job done in a given time. Moreover, it allows the production of better quality materials and significantly lowers the production costs.

And finally, process monitoring is necessary to make sure that everything goes smoothly. It allows the supervisors to control the production processes and make adjustments when necessary.

Why we need cybersecurity for industrial control systems?

The history of industrial control systems go very back, well before the Internet of Things and similar technological developments. As a result, industry control systems were designed to operate in a highly isolated and controlled area. Initially, industry control systems were only connected to the other systems within the same factory or plant. For this purpose, specialized control mechanisms and communication protocols were created. Yet such mechanisms and protocols cannot meet the requirements of today’s business environments and they don’t cooperate well with recent technologies like big data analytics and the Internet of Things (IoT). In order to update industry control systems to meet the current needs of the businesses, real time data and enterprise networks are introduced.

Real time data and enterprise networks can do wonders for an industry plant or a factory, but they also bring new vulnerabilities as well. That is why cyber security for industry control systems is a must. Thorough and carefully planned cyber security measures are essential for protecting plants and factories from external disruption, data breaches and serious catastrophes.

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