What does the future hold for the cybersecurity of connected assets? SCADAfence, against new threats

A company specialising in the safeguarding of digital assets with products that are among the most efficient and user-friendly on the market. That's SCADAfence, a Prosegur Tech Ventures-backed security startup.

The prognosis is alarming. A few months ago, the US technology consultancy Gartner announced that cybercriminals will have managed to turn operating technology environments into weapons "to successfully harm or kill human beings" by around 2025. To counter these threats, industries in sectors ranging from electricity, water, pharmaceuticals, automotive, food and beverages, etc., are preparing their critical infrastructure security strategy for the long term.

In so doing, they are seeking to safeguard their chain of operations from cyberattacks or similar incidents. SCADAfence, a global technology leader in Operations Technology (OT) and Internet of Things (IoT) cybersecurity, stands at the forefront of this field.


New vulnerabilities

Two concepts in industry are often handled separately: Information Technology (IT) and OT. The first applies to telecommunications hardware and is applicable to companies and businesses. The second detects and changes physical processes by monitoring and controlling devices. It is often used in industry. To remain productive, many organisations have made their OT environments more connected. However, this additional external access makes their networks more exposed. These OT fabrics could easily become the most common targets of cyberattacks, leading to a substantial civilian security threat.

Israel-based SCADAfence emerged in 2014 to address the complex security requirements of Industry 4.0 infrastructure and network environments, which is the latest technological revolution in the manufacturing and distribution of products through new technologies such as IoT, cloud-based data analytics and Artificial Intelligence (AI). The company explains that “business fabrics have become more complex as OTs converge with the IT world”.

The startup says it has expertise in the tools, devices and processes associated with the world's largest industrial chains. Its platform pools and then sends data from sensors on an OT network to a central computer for analysis, thus detecting potential failures, preventing incidents or attacks, and ensuring that the production of not only critical utilities such as electricity, water, oil and gas, but also food and medicines, is not affected. The organisation also boasts a global track record of successful customers and numerous industry awards for performance, operational visibility and advanced threat detection.

The company explains that “business fabrics have become more complex as OTs converge with the IT world”.


A new strategic partner

Prosegur has invested in the company through Prosegur Tech Ventures, the company's startup investment vehicle: “It is a strategic investor with a solid understanding of our industry, giving us the capability to deliver a managed Security Operations Centre (SOC) for OT security to our customers. Prosegur's extensive coverage and broad customer base in the regions of Spain, Portugal and Spanish-speaking countries will help us scale much faster in these target markets. There is also an increase in demand for managed OT security services and we see many synergies in this strategic partnership", say sources at the company.

SCADAfence has increased its number of employees year by year, while simultaneously boosting its worldwide presence. The company has sales and asset support teams in Tokyo, Germany, Canada and several major regions in the United States. One of its most powerful customers is Terminal 6, the largest private port in Latin America. Located on the banks of the Paraná River in Argentina, it is home to a range of agro-industrial processes with a maximum annual shipping capacity of 13 million tonnes of products.

SCADAfence also serves industries that include critical infrastructure such as electric utilities, oil and gas, manufacturing, food and beverage production, pharmaceuticals, mining and metals, facility management systems and automotive industries. “The bottom line regarding this technology is that it keeps civilians safe. We have all seen how Ukraine is under constant attack by the Russians as its critical national infrastructure is under attack. Our goal is to ensure that this does not happen", the company points out.


An ambitious business model

Unlike some of its competitors, SCADAfence entered the market with a long-term vision to address one of the most complex industrial processes: manufacturing. “If you have ever seen a car factory in Japan or Germany, the precision and the number of machines running is astronomical. And that's the kind of challenge we wanted to take on from day one", they explain. While other organisations started with very small chains, such as oil and gas, or with simple single-supplier systems, this startup aimed high. Their initial aim was "to tackle complex problems from the outset".

With this forward-looking approach, the company's products are the most user-friendly in the industry and can handle the heaviest industrial networks effortlessly, as it has the most advanced tools and the highest customer satisfaction rating, according to Gartner's Peer insights customer ratings.

What do they have in store for the future? “We have always listened to our customers throughout our history. We talk to them and draw up the roadmap based on their growing needs. We are convinced that continuing to work together will help define the future of OT security", they add.