ISA expands industrial cybersecurity certificate program | Automation.com

ISA expands industrial cybersecurity certificate program

March 31, 2016 - The International Society of Automation introduced three new levels of its industrial cybersecurity certificate program, taking another significant step forward in providing the operations-focused skills training and expertise needed to safeguard critical infrastructure and vital manufacturing assets from cyberattack.

With this introduction, ISA now offers the most comprehensive set of industrial cybersecurity certificate programming and aligned training courses in the marketplace—covering the complete lifecycle of industrial automation and control system (IACS) assessment, design, implementation, operations and maintenance.

All of ISA’s industrial cybersecurity certificate programs and training courses are based on ISA/IEC 62443, the world’s only consensus-based series of IACS standards and a key component of the US government’s cybersecurity plan.

ISA cybersecurity certificate programs are awarded to those who successfully complete the requirements of ISA’s related cybersecurity courses. ISA now offers four different cybersecurity certificate program levels:

Certificate 1: ISA/IEC 62443 Cybersecurity Fundamentals Specialist

Certificate 2: ISA/IEC 62443 Cybersecurity Risk Assessment Specialist (NEW)

Certificate 3: ISA/IEC 62443 Cybersecurity Design Specialist (NEW)

Certificate 4: ISA/IEC 62443 Cybersecurity Maintenance Specialist (NEW)

Individuals who complete all four ISA certificate programs earn the designation of ISA/IEC 62443 Cybersecurity Expert.

Meeting a growing demand for OT cybersecurity professionals
“ISA’s set of industrial cybersecurity certificate programs provide documented evidence of a person’s skills and knowledge in critical areas of operational technology cybersecurity,” says Dalton Wilson, ISA’s Director of Education and Certification Services. “This is vitally important because there is mounting awareness that operational technology—the sensors, software and remote monitoring and control systems that drive industrial processes in power and chemical plants, oil and gas facilities, water installations and other critical infrastructure—is vulnerable to cyberattack.” 

Results of a recent survey by the Pew Research Center predicted that a major industrial cyberattack will occur in the US sometime within the next 10 years that will cause “widespread harm”—defined as significant loss of life or property losses/damage/theft in the tens of billions of dollars.

Given these types of dire predictions and ongoing calls for improved preparedness, demand for operational technology (OT) cybersecurity experts is rapidly increasing.

“It’s important to recognize, though, that not all cybersecurity training is created equal,” Wilson cautions. “Information technology (IT) training is primarily focused on privacy. It’s not focused on the safety and reliability of industrial plants and critical infrastructure. By providing hands-on, equipment-based OT instruction—taught by widely recognized subject matter experts—ISA delivers the essential skills training needed to counter the real-world risks and dangers associated with industrial cyberattack.”

ISA’s OT training and certificate programs, Wilson says, are pertinent to a wide range of manufacturing professionals, particularly:

  • Control system engineers and managers
  • System integrators
  • IT engineers and managers of industrial facilities
  • Plant managers
  • Plant safety and risk management personnel

The documented workforce skills to counter real-world challenges
Owners and operators of critical infrastructure and other industrial facilities who rely on ISA for OT training and certificate programs are able to:

  • Incorporate the ISA/IEC 62443 industry standards into a sound cybersecurity plan for industrial processes.
  • Assess the cybersecurity of a new or existing IACS and to develop a cybersecurity requirements specification that can be used to document the cybersecurity requirements of a project.
  • Select and implement cybersecurity countermeasures for a new or existing IACS in order to achieve the target security level assigned to each IACS zone or conduit.
  • Develop and execute test plans to verify that the cybersecurity of an IACS solution has properly satisfied the objectives in the cybersecurity requirements specification.
  • Detect and troubleshoot potential cybersecurity events as well as the skills to maintain the security level of an operating system throughout its lifecycle despite the challenges of an ever-changing threat environment.

About ISA
The International Society of Automation (www.isa.org) is a nonprofit professional association that sets the standard for those who apply engineering and technology to improve the management, safety, and cybersecurity of modern automation and control systems used across industry and critical infrastructure. Founded in 1945, ISA develops widely used global standards; certifies industry professionals; provides education and training; publishes books and technical articles; hosts conferences and exhibits; and provides networking and career development programs for its 40,000 members and 400,000 customers around the world.

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