More than ever security is a crucial part of factory automated control environments. When control systems are exposed to interconnect networks such as the Internet, potential intrusions and system hacks become an everyday concern. Even if a control system is entirely isolated from external access, malicious computer risks can enter a control system via a thumb drive or employee laptops. Not only are system processes at risk, but in highly volatile industrial settings, potentially life and limb are in jeopardy. Evolving and evermore sophisticated threats require evolving compliance with certain national and international security protocols.
Predictions for the Automation Industry
The Pew Research Center recently conducted a survey of 1,600 top experts with specialties in Internet services, networks and computer systems. The result of the survey indicated from these industry experts say the writing is on the wall for the industrial process control industry worldwide. Within the next 10 years these experts predict a major cyberattack will bring extensive harm to industries and include significant loss of property, equipment and facilities damages and other losses that will tap industries to the tune of tens of billions of dollars.
Recent Breaches at Large Corporations and the Government
Recent security breaches of major corporate and government networks lay testament to the fact that not enough prevention and proactive implementation is taking place. Recent news stories about intrusions into large retailers, motion picture companies, insurance companies and even the US governmental entities are indications of the sad state of cyber security. The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Director Katherine Archuleta said at a hearing of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform that “In an average month, OPM, for example, thwarts 10 million confirmed intrusion attempts targeting our network. These attacks will not stop — if anything, they will increase.” She went on to discuss the state of constant attack to both government and non-government entities by sophisticated and well-funded entities.
Some of the most critical industries at risk for potentially devastating cyber damage include power generation, water treatment, refineries and other essential industrial facilities.
On the factory floor end, Industrial best-practice security standards along with consistent and updated staff training through reinforced efforts are crucial to prevention. On the hardware and software end, finding a supplier that is proactively and fully occupied in cyber security is an initial best practice.
Automation Security Standards Organizations
A standard’s body heavily engaged in the security industry is the International Society of Automation (ISA), the current leader in security standards and implementation. They have formed a specialized organization with the sole purpose of increasing standards of security called the Automation Federation. Additional organizations include the International Electrotechnical Commission’s (IEC) security working group (TC65 WG10) and the Industrial Control System Joint Working Group (ICSJWG) established by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Control Systems Security Program (CSSP).
Factory Consultants is Dedicated to Security
When deciding on hardware and software control system purchases for your factory, today’s dangerous interconnected world insists that you align yourself with a company that is dedicated to security and a member of security standards development bodies. Factory Consultants maintains a mindset of security first and that is why we align ourselves with vendors and systems that make security protocols a top priority.