SCADA has been in the news recently as the source of much consternation in regards to industrial safety. It is a control system that allows companies to remotely monitor a great deal of their industrial processes, reducing cost and waste, improving efficiency and keeping members of staff safe by removing the necessity to be present in potentially volatile environments. This can only be a good thing, right?
Well, if the media has their say we would believe otherwise. A few isolated occurrences of such control systems being ‘hacked’ has lead companies to wonder whether or not such systems really are safe, when such technology could potentially be taken over by people on the outside in much the same way that hackers would be able to gain control of accounts over the internet.
So, does this mean that these control systems should be passed over in favour of others? Not at all, the few occurrences of such systems being hacked are the result of the same kind of oversights that leads people to be hacked over the internet. Ultimately, so long as you are responsible online and only entrust your details to reputable companies, the chances of having any information taken by others are extremely slim. The same goes for SCADA – so long as you choose the right company to install your systems and have the right expertise on hand to make sure that safety is reviewed regularly, the chances of people being able to get access to your control systems is extremely low indeed.
However, by installing such systems you can vastly increase physical safety and ensure that systems run in a far better way. Suggesting that these systems should not be used due to potential for attack is like saying people shouldn’t fly due to potential for a crash or the internet should be shut down altogether. In reality, as long as you go about it in the right way, with the right company, it will be perfectly safe.