July 13, 2022

Using Multi-Factor Authentication to Protect Cloud Connected Water & Wastewater Applications from Unauthorized Access

MetroCloud SCADA Water & Wastewater Protection with Multi-Factor Authentication

Written By Martin Hawrysko
Metropolitan Industries, Inc.

From its initial development, security has been a consistent primary strength of MetroCloud, the cloud-based SCADA platform by Metropolitan Industries. To maintain a safe and secured platform for our water and wastewater customers throughout the United States, MetroCloud utilizes multi-factor authentication. With the cloud’s increased option to integrate with various pumping and water processing equipment, an understanding of how multi-factor authentication secures the remote access of cloud-connected applications may alleviate security-minded concerns for public works departments exploring upgrades to their water and wastewater monitoring.

All connections to the MetroCloud platform use a dedicated VPN, which is a secure “virtual highway” that allows individual water or wastewater operators to remotely access a specific application. Accessing this VPN requires login credentials, of which each individual personnel member is assigned a unique set. Upon entering the correct credentials, each user must confirm his or her identify using a designated mobile device that only he or she would be in possession of. Using a real-world analogy, think of the “virtual highway” entrance ramp as being guarded by a toll gate. Anything short of correct login credentials and identity confirmation, the tollgate stays down while access is denied.

Upon successful entry onto the VPN, each cloud-connected water or wastewater application is further protected by requiring its own set of login credentials before allowing entry. Additionally, each application may be set with additional parameter locks that restrict setting changes to come from only personnel with designated permissions. In event a computer network is utilized to exploit activity from an individual workstation computer, multi-factor authentication relies on the reasonable expectation that any outside attacker will not be in possession of the designated mobile device required to verify an identify. By utilizing a dedicated VPN with multi-factor authentication, we are ensuring the vital data of each designated user reaches our servers safe and secure thanks to the encryption provided.

A joint study by Stanford University professor Jeff Hancock and security firm Tessian recently confirmed that most security breaches occur due to human error, supporting the notion that multi-factor authentication is a more than necessary precaution. From social media account breaches due to easily guessed passwords to the back-and-forth exchange of usernames and passwords when sharing music and streaming platforms with family and friends, it should be no surprise that login credentials easily become compromised. Unfortunately, poor credential management habits commonly occur at the workplace, where workstations and software may be shared by multiple employees.

The implementing of multi-factor authentication with MetroCloud connected devices is made easy with our quick-start guides, available in written and video formats. With quick start guides for each operating system, MetroCloud users will be ready to securely proceed from their Windows, Mac, iOS, or Android device within minutes.

There’s no room for error when it comes to preserving the integrity of water and wastewater in our cities and towns. Throughout our 65-year company history, Metropolitan Industries has continued to provide safe and reliable water management solutions with each project, from the implementing of MetroCloud SCADA into a booster pump station to the custom design and manufacturing of a packaged booster system from conceptualization to installation.

With more than 500 successful installs, each MetroCloud-connected water and wastewater system further cements cloud SCADA as a secure and cost-effective upgrade without compromising security or performance.

Is Your Water-Based Monitoring Due for an Upgrade?

We would love to learn about your application and demonstrate how you can experience the full benefits of a cloud-based upgrade without compromising security.

Getting in touch with the MetroCloud team of water control experts is just a couple of clicks or a phone call away.