There are more than 150,000 public drinking water systems and 16,000 publicly-owned wastewater treatment systems in the U.S., serving nearly the entire country. Despite the critical nature of these resources, the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) says cybersecurity in this sector is weak and at risk.
Multi-Layered Approach to Cybersecurity
Cloud-based industrial control systems can significantly increase cybersecurity by adding a multi-layered approach spanning the network and applications.
Centralized Monitoring and Analysis
Cloud platforms provide centralized monitoring and analysis of large datasets from throughout a network. Comprehensive system-wide visibility is critical for early detection and rapid response when suspicious behavior is observed.
Identity and Access Management
Cloud-based industrial control systems offer sophisticated access management tools to mitigate unauthorized access that go beyond multi-factor authentication (MFA). Robust identity and access management tools can help organizations manage user access and permissions. At the same time, defining and implementing strict access controls helps prevent unauthorized users.
Data Encryption and Secure Communication
Data encryption, network segmentation, and zero-trust network access (ZTNA) strategies can help prevent and limit potential damage from breaches. Cloud providers typically offer strong encryption for data both when it is stored and sent, preventing unauthorized access.
Redundancy and Disaster Recovery
Cloud platforms offer full system redundancy and disaster recovery features well beyond the scope of on-premise systems. Cloud platforms go far beyond standard data backups by maintaining separate databases with restricted user access in multiple geographic regions for increased protection. In the event of a cyberattack or catastrophic failure, systems can be restored quickly, minimizing downtime.
Continuous Updates and Patch Management
Software patches and updates can represent significant time and expense for owners of traditional legacy SCADA systems. They can also become a significant source of vulnerability to a network. Despite best efforts, it’s easy for software updates to get missed, especially on smaller systems that may be utilizing outdated operating systems. However, failing to apply patches and updates when available puts your system at significant risk. Working with a cloud-based software provider means software is continuously updated in real-time, as needed. Cloud-based software offers future-proof technology, by maintaining software as needed and relieving owners of the maintenance burden and expense. Cloud providers keep their software up-to-date to stop threat actors from exploiting known vulnerabilities.
Cloud data platforms offer numerous cybersecurity advantages, especially when part of a holistic security strategy that include on-premise security, employee training, and incident response plans. Today’s cyber threats require a comprehensive approach to safeguard critical infrastructure.