This blog is not a history of modern SCADA. Our friends at Inductive Automation covered that topic thoroughly in their blog linked here. Rather, this is a discussion of modern SCADA’s pertinence in the smarter system landscape of Industry 4.0. Whether those systems are smart manufacturing factories, smart process control for water/wastewater and O&G, or even smart farming, modern SCADA has a place.

First, what is modern SCADA? To paraphrase Inductive’s definition, modern SCADA platforms employ an open architecture capable of communicating across many platforms, protocols, and edge applications. They also use IT standard forms of structuring data, like SQL databases. That’s one piece of the IT/OT convergence conversation. I’ll cover the other pieces later.

Modern SCADA applications fall in two buckets: those localized to a plant floor and those with dispersed assets contributing to a larger process (e.g., water/wastewater, oil pipelines)

While these subsets have their own challenges, both have the same basic infrastructure requirements.

  1. 1. Cybersecurity – As I write this blog in January of 2022, this seems an obvious requirement in the wake of a year riddled with cybersecurity attacks that crippled every facet of the industrial space. With that in mind, cybersecurity is the top priority for modern SCADA systems.
    2. Scalability – Infrastructure put in place to enable modern SCADA systems today needs to be future-proofed for expansion tomorrow.
    3. Interoperability – Not only does industrial data need to be structured in a format friendly for IT tools (g., ERPs and CRMs), industrial networks (AKA OT networks) need to be segmented yet integrable with their IT counterparts. Infrastructure needs to support all protocols and software platforms.

The TOSIBOX Platform provides all three.

Automated cybersecurity means there is no human error in properly configuring your cyber posture with Tosibox. Firewalls at the edge and encrypted VPN tunnels secure critical assets and protect transmitted data. Physical first, multi-factor authenticated access control means only permitted users can access systems. And because we don’t rely on static/public IP addresses, everything behind a Tosibox node is invisible to the Internet.

Automated networks to servers and clouds means new machines, processing equipment, or other distributed assets can be added to a mesh in seconds. This applies to localized and dispersed applications – even those needing a cellular connection.

Automatic network segmentation and operability with existing IT infrastructure means Tosibox enabled modern SCADA systems operate separately from the IT side of corporate DMZs while providing the ability to transmit relevant data between OT and IT infrastructure. Layer 2 capable networks means all ethernet protocols can transmit data seamlessly without drivers. An OT dedicated application environment provides the flexibility to integrate any software package.

Modern SCADA requires modern infrastructure. Tosibox is infrastructure for modern SCADA, automated.

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Blog post is written by Skylar Dhaese - OT Network engineer helping integrators and manufacturers monetize their digital transformation.