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What is SCADA and Why It Is Important

Posted by NowlesNorman in Internet on March 31st, 2018

SCADA stands for supervisory control and data acquisition. It is software and hardware used by industrial organizations to control processes remotely or locally. It allows you to monitor, collect and process data in real-time. SCADA also allows you to interact directly with valves, pumps, sensors, and motors. The system also creates a log file for any events.

SCADA has been around for a while now and begins with programmable logic controllers (PLC’s) and is a vital system to allow industrial organizations to process data and maintain efficiencies in real-time to help make fully considered decisions. The software helps operators by displaying, distributing and processing data so teams can analyze and make critical decisions.

SCADA system security

IT managers dealing with industrial control networks and SCADA systems are becoming increasingly aware of security threats to these systems. Security threats to SCADA systems are on the increase and keeping them safe is paramount to business continuity. These critical systems are vital to ensuring that all systems, processes, and services are fully operational. Shutting down a SCADA system is not an option for most industrial plants. Understanding the common threats and weaknesses of SCADA systems will allow you to develop a comprehensive strategy to respond to possible SCADA security threats.

Common threats and weaknesses of SCADA systems

Most SCADA systems are open to security threats because of the following:

  • The Absence of monitoring – it is impossible to notice possible threats or respond to cyber attacks without constant monitoring of the network.
  • Lack of maintenance – SCADA systems are constantly updated and becoming more advanced. These upgrades make the system vulnerable to new cyberattacks. Regular maintenance of the software and firmware is vital to ensure the system is protected from any possible new threats.
  • Shortage of knowledge – you can monitor and updates remotely with a SCADA system. However, not all have the same reporting abilities. As SCADA systems have been around for a while, it is not unusual to find systems made up of technologies that are 20 years apart in age. The disparity in technologies used results in huge knowledge gaps about the devices connected to the system.
  • Lack of understanding of traffic – it is vital to know what kind of traffic flows through your networks. With knowledge about the traffic you experience, only then will you be able to detect and respond to potential threats properly.
  • Gaps in authentication – authentication protocols are vital to ensuring that the right people have access to the SCADA system. Without an authentication solution, you leave your system vulnerable to access from anybody. Lack of a proper authentications protocols makes you SCADA system unsafe.

Cyber attacks on networks and systems are becoming common practice. Attackers are also becoming a lot more sophisticated. Ensuring that your SCADA system is safe from vulnerabilities should be a top priority. A cyber attack on your SCADA system or network could result in huge losses in production time and profits. Should you not be able to secure your system adequately, many third-party SCADA security solutions providers will be able to assist you in securing your SCADA system.

 

 

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