How to Bridge the Security Gap Between IT & OT Teams

12 Oct 2022

Most industrial organizations experience a lack of security collaboration between IT/SOC analysts and OT/operational teams. It is a better practice for IT and OT teams to support and collaborate with one another. If data, high-priority risks, and mitigation needs are transparent for both teams, their decisions will avoid being siloed and avoid being in conflict.

A recent Gartner1 survey noted that:

  • “IT security teams have become the key enterprise buyers and resources to coordinate [OT] security efforts, although lack of expertise on industrial security requires the participation of OT personnel.

  • “The separation of IT and OT responsibilities in many companies makes positioning a coordinated approach difficult.”

Referring to many in the manufacturing sector, Gartner concluded that current efforts fall short “to reconcile and manage the divergent strategies and cultures of IT and OT groups.”

True collaboration between IT/SOC analysts and operational teams empowers your staff to reduce and mitigate OT security risks quickly and proactively. IT teams need reliable, data-driven insights about how various risks impact operations. Similarly, operations teams need to know how risk mitigation should be prioritized to ensure operational resiliency.  

Both teams should quickly be able to know why some OT security alerts are deemed high-priority and what actions are required to mitigate such risks. Equally as important is how an organization’s IT/SOC and operations professionals can have access to the same clear mitigation playbooks with practical, step-by-step instructions showing them how to mitigate high-priority OT security alerts. This helps bridge any skill OT gaps among relevant team members.

When bringing together IT and OT teams, Siemens' Michael Bingaman observes,  “industrial enterprises require a deep, cross-functional, and proactive collaborative approach that combines [their] respective intellectual power, know-how, and experience.”

Proactively mitigating risks should be a shared responsibility among your CISO, OT, and IT/SOC teams, with data being shared “transparently, seamlessly, and securely… from the factory floor to the boardroom and everywhere in between,” says Bingaman. By enhancing the management and mitigation of OT security risks, effective collaboration enables preemptive risk identification and reduction.

Implemented correctly, IT–OT alignment delivers the right data from the operational edge to OT decision-makers and across your organization to help inform actions for all relevant teams. Operating across your entire environment, OTORIO’s RAM2 provides a central dashboard that’s accessible by your CISO, IT, and OT teams. It uniquely facilitates security consolidation among your IT–OT–IIoT networks to establish a single, comprehensive, enterprise-wide security strategy. RAM2 provides visibility and control of all assets, along with real-time incident detection, risk assessment, management, monitoring, and mitigation. 

Generally, operational teams possess a lower level of cyber security skills, but they maintain an essential role in ensuring asset visibility. RAM2 closes the skills gap, providing those on the operational front line with key insights about the business impact of OT security breaches. Rather than always having to depend on IT/SOC analysts to reduce risks for them, RAM2 empowers operational teams to take action with clear, easy-to-use mitigation playbooks customized for your environment. 

Download our free eBook to learn all the other ways OTORIO’s RAM2 can close the gaps left in your OT–IT–IIoT security to benefit your industrial operations.

1Emerging Technologies: OT Security Governance Strategies and Buying Patterns — 2021 Survey Trends report, Gartner, Inc.

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