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Secure SCADA set to prosper in the future

20 December 2010

New analysis from Frost & Sullivan indicates that the SCADA market is among the most rapidly growing control systems markets in the world.

The report: ‘Strategic Analysis of the World SCADA Market,’ finds that the market earned revenues of $4,584.5 million in 2009 and estimates this to reach $6,902.4 million in 2016.
Markets in Western Europe and North America will continue expanding over the next few years due to the increasing demand to modernise power and water and wastewater infrastructure. New infrastructure investments in the Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific, Latin America and Russia in sectors like oil and gas, power, water and wastewater, will also spur SCADA markets to grow rapidly in these regions. The key market challenge manufacturers have to face is ensuring enhanced cyber security.

Industry sectors covered as part of this research includes oil and gas, power, water and wastewater and others covering plant level SCADA (food and beverage, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, pulp and paper) and automotive and transportation. Software, hardware and services are some of the product categories covered in this research.

“Oil exploration in Siberia, the North Sea, the Gulf of Mexico and North Western Africa has gained renewed interest,” said Frost & Sullivan Research Analyst Katarzyna Owczarczyk. “The need to control geographically dispersed assets drives cash rich oil majors to invest in SCADA systems, thereby supporting market expansion.”

Natural gas is becoming increasingly important in the energy market globally due to its comparatively clean emissions, relatively low price, and abundant availability, therefore being an alternative to oil and coal for electricity generation. The gas pipelines needed to reach end users require SCADA monitoring for leaks, flow, and routing, further promoting market expansion.

“The concept of piped distribution, when implemented, will create opportunities for automation companies in terms of supplying SCADA systems,” said Owczarczyk. “Demand for SCADA solutions will surge since distribution will involve the transportation of gas for long distances.”

One of the key challenges that manufacturers face in the world SCADA market is ensuring enhanced cyber security. "A great majority of SCADA vendors have started to address the risks of cyber threats by developing lines of specialised industrial firewall and VPN solutions for TCP/IP-based SCADA networks,” states Owczarczyk. “Additionally, more and more applications are being implemented to the control systems in order to prevent unauthorized application changes without impacting the performances of common antivirus scans.”

Furthermore, the ISA Security Compliance Institute (ISCI) is emerging to formalise SCADA security testing. Standards defined by ISA99 WG4 will supersede the previous industry testing and certification efforts, but probably not before 2011.

“Manufacturers that recognise challenges such as the need for cyber security, flexible and open systems while meeting rising customer expectations for advanced software at competitive prices will survive over the next decade” – concludes Owczarczyk. “Vendors should also educate plant engineers and operators, as well as system integrators and other SCADA developers about the importance of security.”


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