Internet of Things and Industrial Control Systems

Internet of Things

The Internet of Things (IoT) is the fusion of devices and sensors by an information network to enable new and autonomous capabilities. IoT devices are embedded within our everyday lives from the devices we wear to the vehicles we drive. They can now be found in numerous networks including Industrial Control Systems (see below), Control Systems, Building Management Systems, Enterprise and Personnel Networks.

IoT increasingly provides a digital skin to the world on Information Technology giving it the ability to sense and monitor the environment in which it is operating. For this reason it is critical to try and safeguard these devices from those with hostile intent. It is also important to increase the awareness of the vulnerabilities an IoT device can introduce into a system.

Industrial Control Systems

Industrial Control Systems (ICS) is a term that includes Control Systems used in Industrial Production, including

  • Programmable Logic Controller (PLC)
  • Systems Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA)
  • Distributed Control Systems (DCS)

They are widely used in the Industrial and Power sectors such as Energy (Civil Nuclear, Electricity and Gas); Water; Transport; Manufacturing; and Pharmaceuticals.

Building Management Systems

Building Management Systems (BMS), also known as Building Automation Systems, are a type of Control System used to control and monitor the mechanical and electrical equipment in most modern buildings such as ventilation, lighting, power, fire and security systems. They are therefore common to all sectors. 

Cyber security principles are equally applicable to ICS, Control Systems and IoT, although some mitigations are deployed differently. Guidance on practical steps to cyber security is available.