Serial Com File Transporter
Segregation of Process Control Networks (PCN) / Integrated Control and Safety Systems (ICSS) and business networks (company intranets) is paramount to ensure the integrity of the process being controlled (cyber security, virus propagation, prevent unauthorised access etc.).
Access for business users / applications can be achieved with a demilitarised zone (DMZ) / firewalls, although in many companies this level of infrastructure does not exist at all operating assets and facilities which results in critical data being isolated on the PCN or ICSS network.
The Serial Com File Transporter (SCFT) unlocks this siloed data while maintaining system integrity by using serial communications and enforcing unidirectional data flow. To configure SCFT the following is required:
- Install the SCFT ‘Sender’ application on a PC connected to the PCS / ICSS network.
- Install the SCFT ‘Receiver’ application on a PC connected to the business network.
- Connect the two PC’s together via their Serial Com ports with a null modem cable.
- Configure the Sender source folder, the file types to be transferred and file transfer period (in minutes).
- Configure the Receiver destination folder.
SCFT then moves any files ‘from’ the Sender source folder via the serial communications ‘to’ the Receiver destination folder (unidirectional file transfer flow / files are permitted to travel in one direction only) at the specified file transfer period making the files available for use on the business network.
Both the Sender and Receiver applications incorporate logging functionality.
Example: At an oil and gas facility SCFT is used to transfer files containing the following data types from the sites PCN to the company’s business network.
- Process and well data (over 4,500 data points)
- Well test reports
- Daily alarm files and alarm statistics / disabled alarm lists
- PCS equipment performance statistics
- Metering system reports
- Safety override statuses
- Control loop performance data and current tuning parameters
Scheduled batch files run periodically and copy the PCS generated files from the PCS nodes / PC’s to the Sender source folder. The Sender service runs every 1 minute and transfers an average of 12,292 files per day (~8.5 files per minute) to the Receiver destination folder.
Being on the business network (due to SCFT) this data is then used by operations, maintenance, engineering (reservoir and technical) and management.