Operational Technology (OT) Security
Protecting Operational Technology (OT) from cyber-attacks
Operational technology (OT) is the use of hardware and software to monitor and control physical processes, devices, and infrastructure. From monitoring critical infrastructure (CI) to operating industrial robots on a manufacturing floor, OT systems are utilized across a wide range of industries such as oil and gas, electrical generation and distribution, aviation, maritime, rail, manufacturing, health and utilities to carry out a great array of tasks.
IT vs. OT
Operational technology controls equipment as compared to Information Technology (IT) that controls data. Specifically, IT security focuses on securing confidentiality, integrity, and availability of systems and data whereas OT Security focuses on securing operational equipment and processes.
Importance of OT Security for Organizations:
Operational technologies are widely used by all industrial sectors including hospitals, manufacturing plants, transportation systems, utility firms, and even office building. Anything from monitoring and controlling the temperature of perishable foods to the availability of electricity in the hospitals can all be disturbed if effective and complete OT security procedures are not adapted. An inability to invest in a solid OT cybersecurity solution can ultimately mean revenue loss, safety and danger.
Best practices for securing OT :
When evaluating a security vendor, determine whether the vendor can offer solutions that will help OT companies achieve best practices for securing their networks. For converged networks, an ideal IT-OT security solution’s top five requirements are to:
- Identify assets, classify them, and prioritize value
- Segment the network dynamically
- Analyze traffic for threats and vulnerabilities
- Control identity and access management
- Secure both wired and wireless access
Major Components of OT Security:
An extensive and reliable OT security framework should be scalable, meaning that every component of an OT environment must be accounted for. From groups of hardware to individual devices and sensors, OT security measures should cover both ICS and SCADA security:
Industrial Control Systems (ICS)
CS refers to the physical functions of all machinery, equipment, and devices as they operate in tandem with each other. Industrial control systems security prioritizes machine performance and staff safety.
Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA)
SCADA is a centralized control hub that allows a manager to monitor equipment status, pinpoint alarms, and adjust hardware settings in real time.
Stages of OT Security:
Identify – OT Asset Discovery and Network Visualization
- Assess – OT Security control design & Implementation
- Detect – OT SOC / OT Managed Defense
- Act – OT Incident Response & Forensics
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