For many industrial facilities, off-site or remote access to data collected by a SCADA system constitutes an unacceptable cybersecurity risk. At the same time, a limited ability to access real-time operations data can create inefficiencies and hinder collaboration. Through a new partnership between EMR Associates and ACE IoT Solutions, utilities and industrial organizations – including the municipal water utility in Portland, TN – are using ACE IoT’s gateways and cloud services to enable secure remote access to SCADA system data.

The concern about cybersecurity is understandable. In many deployments, the SCADA software hosts a system’s operations data and controls the underlying system–for example, a manufacturing, water distribution or power generation system. Enabling remote access to an organization’s SCADA can create a concern that an unauthorized party will gain access to their SCADA system and, therefore, to the system(s) controlled by the SCADA software.

The City of Portland, TN

The City of Portland owns and operates a water utility. Prior to February 2021, the only place to access real-time data related to the operations of the Portland, TN water utility was at a SCADA terminal in the water plant. According to the Chief Operator of Portland’s water treatment plant, this situation had its drawbacks.

Collaborative efforts were more difficult without remote access to operations data. We work with outside consultants to establish the system’s settings in the hydraulic model. This work is made more complex because we must share data via thumb drives. Similarly, collaborative monthly reports were more cumbersome and tedious with file downloads and file transfers required.

Tim Suddarth, Chief Plant Operator, Water Treatment Plant, Portland TN

In February 2021, the City of Portland, TN connected a small (4 inch by 6 inch) device to their OT Network. Using the native protocols of the plant control system, the new gateway device started streaming operations data to ACE IoT’s secured cloud platform. Tim and his colleagues were issued login credentials and, after a brief demonstration of the solution over ZOOM, began accessing the streamed data and customizing several dashboards.

andrew rodgers

Tim and his team use the dashboard above to monitor tank levels and assess the current operating status of the plant. If there is an after-hours emergency—concern about a leak in a tank, e.g.—Tim and/or a member of his team no longer have to travel to the plant to validate the tank levels in the SCADA system. Tim and his team can now – for the first time – access tank levels along with other critical operations data from their homes. The City of Portland TN uses the control room dashboard copied below to track the plant’s performance and operating status over time.

andrew rodgers

The City of Portland, TN is a long-time customer of EMR Associates, a leading manufacturers representative for power distribution, automation, uninterruptible power, cooling, racks, monitoring, and maintenance for mission critical facilities. EMR is introducing ACE IoT’s gateway and cloud service, because it sees a need among its utility and industrial customers.

There is no doubt that a lot of the organizations EMR works with will benefit from secure, remote access to their operations data in real-time. We understand the security concerns that can make accessing SCADA systems remotely a non-starter. The ACE IoT gateway and cloud service provides our customers with an outbound-only pipeline to their data. To us, the solution is a valuable add-on to an existing SCADA system—a SCADA Plus solution.

Nate Wilson, Chief Growth Officer, EMR Associates

Municipal leaders in Portland, TN and Monroe, LA Monroe, LA have successfully deployed the remote access solution with transformative results.

We have already seen the value of the new dashboards. During an unusually extended cold front in February (the same cold front that ravaged Texas), the dashboards allowed us to collaborate more effectively with our water distribution colleagues. We used the new dashboard to identify and remediate several water leaks in the system more quickly and effectively than previously possible.

Tim Suddarth, Chief Plant Operator, Water Treatment Plant, Portland TN

If you work at a water treatment plant, power plant, manufacturing facility or data center, please contact Nate Wilson at EMR Associates ( to learn more about this SCADA-plus solution. The convenient and cost-effective solution can enable secure remote access to SCADA systems, simplify data-sharing and reporting and save your organization money.

Please follow ACE IoT on LinkedIN.