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What Makes Industrial Networks Different from IT Networks

There is a difference between industrial network security and IT networks security. Industrial Control Systems are easy to be attacked so there is a need for high level solutions to secure them. Most of the people lack a proper understanding of the differences between both these networks.

What Makes Industrial Networks Different from IT Networks

Difference in IT network system and Industrial control systems

The core of IT network systems is controlled by climate. It is a secured data center that comprises of standardized equipment and is less than ten years old. On the contrary, the core of ICS lies on plant floor, that is considered to be a hazardous environment. The average equipment life is more than ten years.

IT systems and ICS security solutions vary on the below factors:

  • performance needs
  • reliability requirements
  • operating systems (OS) and apps
  • risk management goals
  • security goals
  • security architectures

Categories of ICS system security problems

Soft Targets

Control networks are filled with “soft” targets, i.e., devices that are very vulnerable to disruption through the network interface. Computer systems in several types of plants execute for months or weeks without any such security update. Some of them also execute without any antivirus tools.

Multiple pathways

Many of the control networks have several different pathways through which online security risks can make an entry in the plant. These pathways mostly bypass current security provisions inside the plant. Some of them are not visible on a network diagram. This results in possibility of bringing malware inside the plant and quickly propagate it from one system to the other.

Flat Networks

Most of the ICS networks are executed as large, and flat networks without any isolation between dissimilar subsystems. This implies that if any issue happens in one plant area, it can easily and quickly spread to other un-related sub-systems and remote plant areas.

How do security professionals help in dealing with cyberattacks?

Comprehensive security arrangements with SCADA cyber security and SCADA aware risk detection and elimination help in safeguarding critical business infrastructure from cyberattacks.

Such threat prone environments can be severe and harsh. SCADA / ICS cyber security solutions use specialized protocols to offer advanced prevention of threat coupled with rugged appliance and complete protocol assistance.  This ensures high end safety without compromising on significant assets such as energy production facilities, water treatment systems, traffic control systems, and factories.

  • Complete visibility and regulation of SCADA traffic
  • Robust firewall allows granular functional regulation of SCADA protocols
  • Facility to log SCADA protocols that includes parameters and commands for forensic incident analysis in operation networks
  • Creation of a baseline of trusted traffic to recognize and eliminate anomalies and deviations
  • Monitoring compliance with key regulations like NERC CIP version 5 by using Compliance Software Blade
  • Deploying the highly extensive assistance of SCADA/ ICS specific protocols that includes DNP3, BACNet, IEC 60870-6 (ICCP), IEC-60870-5-104, MMS, IEC 61850, OPC, Modbus, Profinet, S7, etc.

Conclusion

Both ICS and IT network systems have a different objective of IT security. Where IT network systems are concerned about privacy and its goal is “Data protection,” basic concern of ICS security is safety and its goal is “Protect the Process”. With the assistance of an expert security professional, one can overcome these unique security challenges effectively.