Since the very first Industrial Revolution, manufacturing and industry has embraced automation as a way of streamlining processes and reducing costs. Now that we are in an era considered to be the fourth industrial revolution, not only are processes automated, but so are the control systems themselves.
Industrial control system (ICS) is a catch-all term for the various devices used to control industrial processes. In recent years, many of these systems have become computerized and networked in order to improve overall functionality, leading to the creation of supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems, the most common type of ICS. SCADA systems allow for remote access from multiple points, whether geographically near or far, thereby simplifying many of the steps of industrial, manufacturing and infrastructure processes.
IT/OT Convergence: Pros and Cons
Bringing these systems online has been a necessary part of Industry 4.0 protocol, as IT and OT systems have become interlinked, but this has also introduced a serious cyber risk for manufacturing and industry. As more entry points are created, the opportunity for cyber attacks increases.
This means that ICS SCADA security should be a priority, especially as OT systems are often critical and cannot be taken offline for patching or updating. The problem is that SCADA security involves overcoming several difficulties which are inherent in the system. This includes the problem of incorporating legacy assets alongside cutting-edge technology, being able to map all the elements in any particular network, and most importantly, the essential nature of the systems themselves: when a water facility or oil-pipe goes offline, it causes potential chaos for millions for people and results in a bill to match!
The level of importance in formatting the best possible ICS security solutions has led to the creation of industry best-practice guidelines and regulatory compliance standards, helping CISOs to navigate the complex world of ICS risk assessment and selecting the best solution for their particular needs.
Simplifying the acronyms: how to choose the right ICS security solution
There are several points of reference for industry regulation and best-practice standards:
- The starting point for understanding the ICS threat landscape and choosing the best security solution is the “Guide to Industrial Control Systems (ICS) Security” published by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). The first part of the guide presents a comprehensive list of the different problems involved in securing ICS systems, including the specific issues pertaining to OT as opposed to IT, as well the issues of performing ICS risk assessment. The second part of the guide breaks down each of the currently available ICS security solutions according to category and lists all the elements that create an optimal solution for each category, thus offering a complete guide to the best industry standards.
- Gartner’s Hype-Cycle report is another important resource for Industrial cybersecurity. The 2021 report recognizes security for cyber-physical systems as an important emerging technology, and includes recommendations for best-practice solutions.
IEC 62443 is the international standard for “Industrial communication networks – IT security for networks and systems” – in other words, industrial cybersecurity. It consists of a series of standards governing the different elements that are included in ICS security monitoring, risk assessment and management.
Radiflow: Incorporating Regulatory Standards for the Best ICS Security Solution
Radiflow CIARA is a cyber-security risk assessment platform, which enables you to fully visualize your cyber-physical system using virtual mapping, and performs attack simulations in order to highlight any security weak-spots as well as presenting the possible solutions to any problems which arise.
CIARA was developed in response to the specific needs of the OT market, and is focused on supporting the IEC 62443 cyber‐risk management process. By assigning a level to each risk factor, CIARA is also able to help you optimize ROI when deciding where to allocate your cybersecurity budget, by presenting a prioritized list of mitigation measures according to the results of the attack simulation.
CIARA was created according to the highest possible industry standards, and was listed in the Gartner Hype-Cycle report as a recommended vendor.
If you would like to delve deeper into the ICS security process and find out more about how Radiflow’s OT cyber security solutions work, contact our sales team today.
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