Every industrial facility has operational technology (OT) networks for Industrial Control Systems (ICS), which are required for cybersecurity. These websites are available to both publicly traded and privately held manufacturers. Each of these locations wants their ICS to operate as intended, with high availability. We run the danger of exposing our facilities to internal and external cybersecurity threats as everything gets more interconnected. Providing a high availability ICS is at odds with many common network safety solutions. We rely only on networks and computer systems to manufacture our goods as our factories become more and more automated. We need to make sure (and insure) that each facility's ICS is protected and capable of being fixed if it crashes, much like how we all get insurance for our personal vehicles so we can repair or replace them in case they crash.

You require a sturdy, secure design to safeguard your ICS. Each piece of information that is transmitted across your network must be secured. The equipment in a facility is often controlled by a Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) or a smart device that is networked to the rest of the ICS. Networks, where cybersecurity is a concern, need to be segregated from these systems' networks. These systems frequently transmit enormous volumes of data to HMIs, SCADAs, and historical data repositories. These systems were formerly usually air-gapped, which made them safe.


Today, the majority of facilities prefer that this data be used remotely or on the corporate IT network:

  • To examine how equipment is operating, data trends may be viewed at an engineer's desk on the same computer that he sends emails from.
  • Data may be utilized to produce reports and alarms that are examined and used in one spot.
  • Data might be accessible after hours, allowing on-call staff to check on and change equipment from remote locations.

Data that leaves a closed network is susceptible to corruption and interception. As in the aforementioned situations, data must migrate not only in one route—from a secure OT network to a less secure one—but also in the other direction. Facilities frequently want to be able to patch systems or modify automation from a centralized location. Once a link to a corporate IT network or a remote location is created, this opens a path for the system to be compromised, which could result in the destruction of data, the alteration of system operating parameters, or the introduction of malware or ransomware. The OT network may be insecure even if it is linked to a very secure corporate IT network. The majority of industrial control components are unable to manage the same firewall configurations, patches, and updates that a business system can. Hardware damage and system downtime can cost a lot of money in the event of a cybersecurity compromise. You can prevent these issues and keep your ICS secure with a strong design.

ICS design and a secure network are necessities for many facilities, but there are many factors that drive owners to make changes:

  • As cybersecurity breaches are more frequently included in news stories, some facilities are actively preventing possible issues.
  • To secure their systems, many institutions have corporate directives. The OT system frequently receives instructions to adhere to the same processes as the corporate IT system. Facilities are attempting to safeguard their ICS in accordance with corporate IT policies, however this is almost never possible.
  • Some facilities desire to adhere to best practices, such as the Risk Mitigation Program standard defined by IEC 62443. This is a fantastic resource for what every website should aim to do, however it isn't always obvious how to switch from the current network architecture to a more secure one.

A worry for some facilities is also getting ahead of the DHS/FEMA NIPP's proposed requirements (National Infrastructure Protection Plan). The purpose of this program, which was developed by the federal government, is to protect infrastructure and high-profile targets like chemical distribution, water and wastewater systems, and the electrical grid. Although the main focus of this document is on fundamental infrastructure, it also makes the point that because of how interconnected modern society is, even a tiny manufacturing plant should be safeguarded with the same level of security.

Many of our clients at C3 Automation struggle to get their ICS and OT networks to a strong, well-planned, and secure condition. We are committed to this project and can assist your facility in making the transition to a secure ICS system thanks to our knowledge of control systems.


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