What is SCADA?

The ever-changing world continues to bring with its evolution numerous accomplishments and challenges. In the last decade alone, we have created a network infrastructure of almost infinite proportions in which we communicate today.

The IP cloud covers us all, and truly understanding its philosophical transparency and our critical dependence on its services could be a complex feat. Almost everything is connected to the vast realm of the Internet, and SCADA devices are no exception. The migration of the SCADA infrastructure from legacy to IP brings with it the relative ease of remote management and connectivity, but also the possible burden of network attacks and sabotage.

SCADA stands for supervisory control and data acquisition. SCADA networks control and monitor the critical utility and process control infrastructures for manufacturing, production, and power generation for utility companies, including electricity, natural gas, oil, water, sewage, and railroads.

The development of SCADA can be traced back to the beginning of the 19th century through the introduction of telemetry, which includes the transmission and monitoring of data collected by sensing real-time conditions. Since the beginning of telemetry, SCADA networks have become popular to control electrical and other infrastructure systems.

An example of early telemetry is ComEd, one of the largest electric utility organizations, that developed a system to monitor electrical loads on its power grid.

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