Secure remote access - control stations protect critical infrastructures

Control center employees control plant centralized via VISULOX Remote Support

The structure of how tasks in management positions and maintenance work are managed is currently in the midst of a major change. On the one hand, the entire infrastructure is being increasingly digitized, and on the other, maintenance is also becoming more centralized.

As a result, the decentralized control technology, which is no longer serviced on site, must be controlled via remote access solutions. Such solutions are also used for remote access to central control rooms in order to further increase the efficiency of all control room and maintenance work. Communication in all these applications is almost always via the Internet. To ensure that both the workstations of the remotely connected employees and the control technology cannot be compromised via this connection, the entire IT infrastructure must meet the highest security requirements.

Numerous industries benefit from secure remote access to control stations with genua

Control stations and control rooms can be found in a wide variety of locations around the world. Companies in the manufacturing industry operate production control stations - especially in process industries such as petroleum, chemicals, pharmaceuticals and food, as well as for pulp, paper, glass, steel and cement production. This also applies to automotive production and - thanks to digitalization - increasingly to discrete manufacturing industries. In the utilities industry, control rooms and network control systems are operated for electricity, gas, oil, water, district heating and wastewater. Private security providers are monitoring enticing new ways of security management in facility management .

A good control center is a basic requirement for the smooth and safe operation of emergency calls, firefighting operations, and the implementation of hazard and accident response systems (NGRS / EN 62820). The operation of a control center is essential in order to be able to reliably service critical infrastructures such as those in the transport and logistics industry. This protects against considerable financial and personnel damage, because efficient support is essential.

There are many reasons why companies are increasingly using remote access solutions for control stations and control rooms. In almost all industries, both organizational and technological change processes are taking place.

An important reason for the organization is considered to be the combination of previously distributed operating stands. This comes mostly due to the lack of qualified technical personnel on site. In addition, working in larger, centralized teams is more efficient. Remote access solutions are also required in times of a pandemic so that teams can work in an infection-proof manner to maintain operational and supply security. Additionally, service providers will be able to remotely access control centers and their control systems and equipment.

Digitalization brings with it new kinds of demands.

Major changes are also taking place due to increasing digitalization. For example, more intelligent control of decentralized processes in compressor stations for gas pipeline networks, in substations for electricity grids, and in pumping stations for the water management and petroleum industries. Moreover, virtual power plants with distributed power generation and, increasingly, decentralized storage are also emerging. These, too, need to be monitored across the board via central control technology and controlled remotely. Transportation infrastructures also benefit from digitization and are a prerequisite for e-mobility and autonomous driving. Digital rail is the current buzzword in the rail sector, under which not only the digitization of interlockings is being driven forward. Autonomous trains also require completely new digital control and safety technology. For different applications, there is a need for remote access by a wide range of geographically distributed privileged users.

As part of the Industry 4.0 trend, machines and systems are also being networked in discrete manufacturing, creating so-called cyber-virtual factories. Digital twins are also being hosted in clouds. This means that the status of systems is no longer only monitored and controlled on site from the control center of the manufacturing company. In addition, machine and plant builders need to be able to connect to systems remotely for maintenance and servicing purposes. Consequently, there are many reasons why companies need remote access to their control stations and systems.

Significant risk of sabotage

As the degree of networking increases, so does the risk of criminals penetrating the system. It is therefore particularly important that remote accesses to control and monitoring station workstations are effectively protected. An intrusion into these can lead to devastating consequences if, for example, the MMI systems of the network control technology are used to influence SCADA processes and the parameterization of safety-critical systems.

To establish truly secure access services, the German Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) recommends both the creation of a fully secure remote access workstation for the employee and the provision of an end-to-end secure dial-in node to the on-site control center computer. At the end of 2022, the cornerstones of a new umbrella law for the protection of critical infrastructure were published on a large scale. Finally, a management and monitoring system is also required to monitor the proper operation of such an overall solution and to detect anomalies. User activities that are carried out for the administration of the control center must be fully documented and archived for forensic purposes.

Implement secure remote access with a remoteSupport solution with genubox

Due to its compact and practical design, amitego's VISULOX Remote Support solution is ideal for protecting industrial control stations and control rooms. This is especially true if all BSI requirements are to be met. amitego offers extensive references for this, for example in the form of KRITIS infrastructures as well as security-threatened industrial organizations. The success is obvious: digitization creates new attack surfaces that must be protected in the best possible way - not least because the German government has repeatedly called for the protection of critical infrastructures and enshrined it in principle.

Convince yourself and arrange a free demo without obligation. We will show you how our Secure Remote Access Tool works and answer your questions

When companies rely on VISULOX Remote Support and the holistic , they opt for the best possible protection - according to the state of the art - without significantly restricting existing workflows. VISULOX delivers all the core functions needed for secure remote access as a technology, without installing agents on clients or servers and thus as an all-in-one solution for secure remote access, control of all data transfers and complete documentation of activities. This includes either a hardened appliance as hardware or the virtualized instance within the critical infrastructure with two-factor authentication, as well as a policy-based interface control. VISULOX is installed Remote Support is installed during operation and without interrupting internal processes.

Rely on amitego and VISULOX to manage your access centralized, securely and easily. We install our Secure Remote Access solution in your company in a short time, helping you to strengthen IT security and control data transfer. 

Convince yourself and arrange a non-binding initial meeting. We are looking forward to you and your inquiry!

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