Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition

Written by Patricia Skinner
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Supervisory control and data acquisition systems, more commonly known as SCADA, have become the standard way to monitor industrial plant status. Proper implementation of these systems has meant a vast improvement in efficiency, safety and production for a wide range of industrial plants. SCADA is a complete system that works remotely, therefore bypassing the need for expensive and inconvenient wiring systems.

Supervisory control and data acquisition systems work via a central command computer (master) that is linked by a network to all the components of an industrial plant, usually referred to as remote stations. SCADA usually works in tandem with other software systems that the industry may already be using. Distribution control systems (DCS) are similar to SCADA systems and are also widely used in industry.

Security and Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition Systems

Like any computer software system, though, supervisory control and data acquisition is vulnerable to virus and hack attacks. These can be particularly damaging when they are maliciously intended. For this reason, it is vital that any company employing a SCADA system take adequate protection measures. Security cannot be emphasized too highly.

It is not enough to just load a firewall and antivirus program. It is imperative that the administrators of a supervisory control and data acquisition system take the time to familiarize themselves with the specific threats to this kind of system. Consulting a network security expert is a good starting point to making sure that any SCADA system is not rendered ineffective by security breaches.

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