Defence in Depth - Cybersecurity & IEC 61511

In today’s world, interconnectivity, digitalisation, automatic control systems and other technological advances are buzzwords that permeate both work and play. These phrases do actually have meaning, and they are not just buzzwords. Indeed, the same tools individuals use on a daily basis to “optimise” their private lives have also been adapted to optimise industrial processes of every type.

Today almost all process plants have industrial control systems (ICS) embedded in the various levels of the company’s digitalisation, from field devices (instruments, actuators, relays, etc.) to the highest level of corporate servers. For convenience and cost, too often there is commercial pressure to use the same tools that allow remote access to the control systems suppliers for them to be able to undertake maintenance and enact changes.
The same is true of allowing remote access to others in the user’s business who work remotely to the actual process plant. The very obvious problem with that approach is the opening up of any process plant control to remote cyber attack that has no physical risk at all to the attacker because they are miles and miles away.

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