Browse Definitions:
Definition

industrial control system (ICS)

Contributor(s): Matthew Haughn

An industrial control system (ICS) is integrated hardware and software designed to monitor and control the operation of machinery and associated devices in industrial environments.

Industrial control systems monitor, automatically manage and enable human control of industrial processes such as product distribution, handling and production. ICS are used in extraction resources like mining, oil, gas and coal, as well as factories, water/waste water treatment, power plants, pulp and paper and transport industries. The systems have helped bring about an increase in speed, responsiveness to conditions and reliability. 

Technologies used in ICS include distributed control systems (DCS), programmable logic controllers (PLC) and supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA). The separation of these systems is becoming less defined as remote telemetry units used to input change become more capable of local control and information technologies (IT) are increasingly integrated with operational technologies (OT).

Historically, ICS hardware was not networked. Many devices for monitoring or adjustment had no computing resources and those that were computerized typically used proprietary protocols and programmable logic controllers rather than full computer control. However, a major focus of the burgeoning Internet of Things (IoT) – and the Industrial IoT in particular – is networking non-computing devices and making it possible for them to exchange data over the Internet. 

Despite the benefits of OT modernization and IT/OT convergence, there are drawbacks in terms of security. The modernization efforts often expose older, previously unconnected and harder- to-update systems to new threats. As a result, previously secure facilities may be left open to industrial espionage and sabotage.  Kaspersky Labs defines targeted attacks against ICS as the number one threat to critical national infrastructure.

This was last updated in March 2016

Continue Reading About industrial control system (ICS)

Start the conversation

Send me notifications when other members comment.

By submitting you agree to receive email from TechTarget and its partners. If you reside outside of the United States, you consent to having your personal data transferred to and processed in the United States. Privacy

Please create a username to comment.

-ADS BY GOOGLE

File Extensions and File Formats

Powered by:

SearchCompliance

  • pure risk (absolute risk)

    Pure risk, also called absolute risk, is a category of threat that is beyond human control and has only one possible outcome if ...

  • risk assessment

    Risk assessment is the identification of hazards that could negatively impact an organization's ability to conduct business.

  • audit program (audit plan)

    An audit program, also called an audit plan, is an action plan that documents what procedures an auditor will follow to validate ...

SearchSecurity

SearchHealthIT

SearchDisasterRecovery

  • business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR)

    Business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR) are closely related practices that describe an organization's preparation for ...

  • business continuity plan (BCP)

    A business continuity plan (BCP) is a document that consists of the critical information an organization needs to continue ...

  • call tree

    A call tree -- sometimes referred to as a phone tree -- is a telecommunications chain for notifying specific individuals of an ...

SearchStorage

  • nearline storage

    Nearline storage is the on-site storage of data on removable media.

  • application-aware storage

    Application-aware storage is a storage system with built-in intelligence about relevant applications and their utilization ...

  • Remote Direct Memory Access (RDMA)

    Remote Direct Memory Access (RDMA) is a technology that allows computers in a network to exchange data in main memory without ...

SearchSolidStateStorage

  • 3D XPoint

    3D XPoint is memory storage technology jointly developed by Intel and Micron Technology Inc.

  • RRAM or ReRAM (resistive RAM)

    RRAM or ReRAM (resistive random access memory) is a form of nonvolatile storage that operates by changing the resistance of a ...

  • JEDEC

    JEDEC is a global industry group that develops open standards for microelectronics.

SearchCloudStorage

  • Google Cloud Storage

    Google Cloud Storage is an enterprise public cloud storage platform that can house large unstructured data sets.

  • RESTful API

    A RESTful application program interface breaks down a transaction to create a series of small modules, each of which addresses an...

  • cloud storage infrastructure

    Cloud storage infrastructure is the hardware and software framework that supports the computing requirements of a private or ...

Close