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The Importance of SCADA Monitoring Systems

Posted by NowlesNorman in Internet on January 29th, 2019

SCADA is an acronym for Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition. It is a subcategory of ICS, which is an acronym standing for Industrial Control Systems. ICS generally describes different types of control systems associated with industrial and technical aspects. Other subcategories of ICS include Distributed Control Systems (DCS) and Programmable Logic Controllers (PLC), among others. These systems are most commonly used in industrial and infrastructure sectors, such as manufacturing, chemical processing, power generation, and water treatment industries, among several others. Different ICSs function similarly to one another. Amongst these systems, SCADA and PLC are the most commonly used in the industries. They can be used in larger systems as well and smaller systems, making them easy to use across several industries. SCADA is also more commonly known to people outside of these industrial and technical sectors, emphasizing how popular the system is.

The architecture of ICS SCADA monitoring system is made up of a control center and a communication network. The purpose of a SCADA system is to send, or control, and receive data through this communication network and filter it through the control center. One of the great benefits of a SCADA system is that it can remotely communicate with and control local modules, allowing a single system to control several other, smaller systems over a wide expanse of space. Industries, where SCADA systems are highly favorable, include those that operate in large geographical spaces, such as gas pipeline or water distribution systems. Being able to monitor a single control system which then controls other smaller modules creates a much more efficient management system. Other benefits of a SCADA system can include spending less time processing and completing jobs, an increase in revenue for the company, fewer people required to complete tasks, accuracy in receiving and sending data, automatic calculations, and organization of said data, and several other benefits that come with a computerized system.

One of the downsides of a SCADA security system, however, is the possibility of their security being compromised. Cyber attacks on the main control system could disrupt and destroy the communication network, thereby effectively ruining the system’s efficiency. While a SCADA system is popular enough to warrant trust in their operation, this risk should still be considered when enabling multiples systems to one main control center. Other disadvantages that accompany a SCADA system, just like many of the benefits, are related to other disadvantages in computer systems. These issues can range from breakdown of systems or parts of the system over time, requiring constant upkeep and maintenance. SCADA systems are also only compatible with Windows operating systems. While Windows operating systems are more commonly used in industries and businesses versus other software systems, this still makes a SCADA system selective and inaccessible to everyone. Lastly, SCADA monitoring software are not exactly cheap. Installation of the system itself can cost around 0,000. Weighing things such as higher revenue and less workers against constant maintenance costs to keep the system running properly is a very serious consideration when looking into setting up a SCADA system.

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