Industrial control systems (ICS) describe how hardware and software are integrated with network connectivity to support work processes in today’s industrial settings. In the past, most industrial equipment and components used in industrial processes such as the operation of transportation systems, power stations, water and wastewater plants, transport industries, and many other critical functions were dumb, meaning that they worked as isolated systems, protected from the outside. Now, a lot of industrial equipment and components of today’s ICSs connect directly or indirectly to the internet.
The Benefits of Modern Industrial Control Systems
This improved connectivity, often via wireless networking, and enhanced sensor technology, automates many complex work processes, resulting in increased productivity, reduced costs, and improved reliability.
The Drawbacks of Modern Industrial Control Systems
The trade-off for these new benefits for ICS is that it makes these systems vulnerable to attack by foreign powers, competitors, and hackers. Because many important industrial functions are automated, all industrial companies must take steps to protect their equipment operations from being changed or sabotaged. Here are some of those steps:
- Install the latest hardware and software updates immediately when available.
- Limit system access so that only individuals that need it to perform their job duties.
- Use multi-factor authentication to make it more difficult for outside intruders to gain access.
- Monitor network traffic looking for abnormal spikes or ebbs and review where the traffic comes from.
- Review access logs routinely, looking for anomalies.
Most industrial businesses and functions generate a lot of attention from intruders and face constant attacks, so anyone who works with them—from the industrial electrical company that installs them to the operators who use them every day—need to be aware of this and cautious.
The Components of Industrial Control Systems
- Sensors – Used to measure conditions of an ICS. These can measure speed, temperature, scanning letters or numbers, movement, or any number of other stimuli as programmed.
- Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs) – These are used as control components in ICS and programmed to manage work processes
- Operational Technology devices – Any ICS device that monitors and controls physical devices out on the system. These include both hardware and software.
- Master Terminal Unit (MTU) – This is the brain of the ICS, sending commands to the system, telling it exactly how to operate.
- Remote Terminal Unit (RTU) – Controls the MTU receiving commands, executing them, and reporting back to MTU.
An excellent industrial electrical services provider must have an in-depth understanding of ICS’s and how they interact with the world around them to keep your business running smoothly and protect it from hostile attacks.
Tri-State Electrical Contractors Provide Best-in-Class Industrial Control System Services in the Southeastern US
Tri-State Electrical Contractors understands what modern industrial companies need in the ever-changing, complex, online world. We provide PLC programming services in addition to all of the industrial electrical services you need. We can handle any commercial or industrial electrical work you need to be completed quickly and competently. For more information, give us a call at (423) 800-2134, fill out our simple online form, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org today.