Home Cyber Balkans NCSC Issues Advisory for Securing Cloud-hosted SCADA Systems – GBHackers on Security

NCSC Issues Advisory for Securing Cloud-hosted SCADA Systems – GBHackers on Security

NCSC Issues Advisory for Securing Cloud-hosted SCADA Systems – GBHackers on Security

The integration of Operational Technology (OT) with Information Technology (IT) has given rise to new challenges and considerations in cybersecurity, posing threats to critical infrastructure and industrial control systems. OT, which encompasses Industrial Control Systems (ICS), Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA), and Distributed Control Systems (DCS), is designed with a focus on safety, reliability, and availability, while IT prioritizes information confidentiality, integrity, and availability.

As the lines between OT and IT become increasingly blurred, the need for robust risk management practices to address system vulnerabilities is more critical than ever. The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has outlined key cybersecurity design principles to guide architects and designers in creating secure and resilient OT systems in the face of evolving cyber threats.

One of the significant areas of concern in the convergence of OT and IT is the migration of Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) systems to cloud-hosted environments. While cloud-based SCADA solutions offer various benefits, such as data processing efficiency and centralized control, they also introduce new cybersecurity risks. Traditional SCADA systems were air-gapped from external networks, but modern solutions rely on logical separation and controlled access, requiring meticulous monitoring and management to ensure security in the cloud.

To effectively migrate SCADA systems to the cloud, organizations must understand the business drivers driving the transition and carefully evaluate the unique risks associated with different deployment models. Leveraging cloud-native services and features like Software Defined Networking (SDN) can enhance the security posture of cloud-hosted SCADA systems, providing resiliency and centralized management capabilities. Additionally, implementing Privileged Access Management (PAM) solutions and cloud-native secrets management tools can bolster security measures and mitigate potential threats.

Furthermore, organizations need to assess their readiness for cloud migration, including evaluating skill sets, policies, and connectivity requirements. The transition to cloud-hosted SCADA systems may necessitate a reevaluation of OT security policies and practices to ensure compatibility with the new environment. Careful consideration of shared services, third-party integrations, and security controls when working with managed service providers (MSPs) is essential to maintain data integrity and safeguard sensitive information.

Technical considerations, such as software suitability, legacy hardware limitations, and security protocols, play a crucial role in the successful migration of SCADA systems to the cloud. Legacy architectures may require additional security measures, like containerization and VPNs, to mitigate vulnerabilities and enhance cybersecurity defenses. Moreover, edge computing and zero-trust architecture principles offer potential solutions to address latency requirements and data sensitivity concerns in cloud environments.

In conclusion, the convergence of OT and IT presents both opportunities and challenges in cybersecurity, especially concerning the migration of SCADA systems to cloud-hosted environments. By adopting robust risk management practices, leveraging cloud-native services, and assessing organizational readiness for cloud migration, organizations can enhance their security posture and mitigate cyber threats in an increasingly digital landscape. Stay informed on the latest cybersecurity developments and best practices by following industry updates on social media platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter.

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