Many factors contribute to maintaining a reliable and optimally performing control system.
This series will explore five essential P’s: Protection with Cybersecurity, Preventive Maintenance, Predictive Maintenance, Parts and Extended Warranty, and a Platform for Support and Lifecycle Updates.
Collectively, these elements form a simple but powerful framework to help safeguard your control system against downtime and improve your productivity.
We begin with:
Cybersecurity protection of critical infrastructures is becoming of paramount importance as the lines between OT (Operations Technology) and IT (Information Technology) continue to blur in Industrial Control Systems. The attacks on the Colonial Pipeline, the discovery of Triton in the Middle East, and Stuxnet are all reminders that the threat looms large. Hence, implementing measures such as endpoint security, network segmentation, intrusion detection, access control, and security assessments is no longer optional in protecting your system from data breaches and unauthorized access, which could ultimately lead to operational disruptions.
This Cybersecurity Guidebook for Process Control proposes the following measures to help you take the necessary steps to protect your assets against the next malware or ransomware attack:
Implementing effective cybersecurity measures can help ensure the continuous operation of your control system and the critical infrastructure it is running. It does so by preventing downtime, which cybersecurity-related incidents can cause. Moreover, cybersecurity measures can help safeguard your data and intellectual property (such as formulas and recipes), personal information, and operational or financial data, which can lead to reputational damage if breached. Keeping abreast with good cybersecurity practices and implementing them can also help you adhere to industry standards and government regulations.
However, having robust cybersecurity requires expertise that may not reside in the plant or involve collaboration between personnel in both IT and OT domains. The overlap in these areas can lead to some operational constraints in that controls and authentication may limit system access. Hence, the balance between security and operational efficiency must be considered. Unavoidably, there is also a cost that includes upfront investments in infrastructure and training, and long-term upkeep and subscriptions. The return on this investment must be clear and demonstrable to upper management.
So where should you begin?
Basic Cybersecurity Assessment Results
The Guidebook mentioned above recommends that you start with a Cybersecurity Assessment. Plant and control system cybersecurity is not a “set once and forget” strategy but an evolving one. By conducting an initial assessment, you can understand the strength of your security controls, protocols, and defenses, allowing you to focus and prioritize your next steps considering your budget, risk tolerance, and operational constraints. Periodic succeeding assessments can guide your cybersecurity journey towards achieving and maintaining your desired overall cybersecurity posture for your system.
While the solutions linked above are mainly for Emerson DeltaV control system users, the concepts and principles should generally apply to any other Industrial Control System. If you want to learn more:
The post The 5 P’s of Control System Reliability and Performance appeared first on the Emerson Automation Experts blog.
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