How to protect industrial environments against cyber threats

July 29, 2015
With increasingly connected systems, SIS is becoming prone to more cyber risks and vulnerabilities.

The SIS market is growing, and growing fast. By 2020, it is expected to be worth $3.76 billion in the U.S. alone. However, with this increased connectivity, the numerous cyber risks associated with these systems are coming with them. To prevent severe incidents at plants that could impact human life, assets and production, the challenges linked to these systems must be met with substantial protection.

According to new research, increasing Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and Big Data adoption within industrial settings is anticipated to lead to substantial growth in the number of interconnected industrial control devices during the next five years.

The once-isolated SIS now faces multiple potential cyber threat paths. As a result, organizations should fully consider the risks and implications before deciding to share the same networks and equipment for SIS and BPCS. Any analysis must consider the numerous security risks that are associated with safety engineering workstation, controllers and communication protocol vulnerabilities.

Some vendors and consultants are leaving it to the end-user to decide whether to interconnect or isolate the SIS from the BPCS. Regardless, the oil and gas industry must, as standard, ensure that continuous security assessments are undertaken and that control systems staff are provided with the security training necessary to effectively protect critical environments against attack.

As heightened levels of interconnectivity, driven by business requirements, leave the oil and gas industry increasingly exposed to cyber attacks, it has never been more important to ensure that appropriate measures are taken to safeguard SIS against threats that could lead to equipment damage and fatalities in order to maintain the last layer of defense.

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