What is Operational Technology (OT) Security?
Explore the definition, components, challenges, and benefits of OT security and its importance for industrial systems and infrastructure from cyber threats.
Safeguarding the Backbone of Industrial Systems
The convergence of operational technology (OT) and information technology (IT) has revolutionized industries, enabling businesses to optimize processes and efficiency. So as OT and IT intertwine, robust security for the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) becomes paramount in safeguarding critical infrastructure, manufacturing plants, power grids, and other essential systems from cyber threats.
But such integration also brings new challenges and vulnerabilities, making OT security a critical aspect of safeguarding industrial systems and infrastructures. This article delves into the world of security, discussing the definition of OT, its components, challenges, and benefits, while emphasizing the significance of selecting the right OT security vendor.
Unlike traditional IT security, which predominantly focuses on data and information protection, OT security addresses the physical devices and control systems that drive core industrial operations. This includes all hardware and software used in industrial control systems (ICS) to manage, monitor, and control physical processes.
As more industries embrace digital transformation and embrace IIoT technologies, OT security importance grows exponentially. Encompassing various practices, technologies, and strategies to protect assets, related processes, and underlying infrastructure, such robust security safeguards your essential systems from cyber threats.
Access control, data integrity, means of authentication, encryption, network segmentation, and anomaly detection comprise OT security.
IT and OT teams have historically operated in isolated environments; the former focused on data confidentiality and privacy, while the latter prioritized safety and reliability. Integration has now blurred that divide. Unauthorized access could result in operational disruptions, safety breaches, and financial losses. A cohesive approach is necessary to protect against potential threats, so balancing the priorities of both teams during integration is essential.
The merging of OT with IT can greatly streamline operations, optimize processes, and enhance productivity. This enables real-time data exchange and analysis, facilitating data-driven decision making. That said, integrating the two environments can expose potentially perilous infrastructure to cyber threats from the internet, making robust security measures essential to mitigate your risk.
The mismatch between traditional IT cybersecurity practices and the unique requirements of OT environments can cause apprehension:
Industrial operations are critical to many sectors. Any disruption can result in severe consequences, including production downtime, financial losses, and even safety hazards. Additionally, industrial regulations and standards compliance demands robust OT security measures. And protecting your sensitive data and intellectual property (IP) from cyber espionage and theft is paramount to your business continuity and reputation.
Three security benefits include:
During your evaluation process, consider such factors as:
Operational technology security is vital to protecting your critical infrastructure and industrial systems from cyber threats. As industries continue to embrace digital transformation and IT–OT convergence, all-encompassing security measures become ever more critical. Adopting a robust security program ensures operational continuity and integrity.
Careful evaluation of a security vendor, such as OTORIO, can provide you with the expertise and tools needed to navigate the complex landscape of OT security and thrive in a digitally interconnected world. OTORIO is a leading provider of comprehensive OT security solutions. With years of experience, we offer a tailored security program that ensures robust control, monitoring, and visibility across industrial networks. Our team of experts helps your organization tackle complex OT security challenges and ensure protection of your critical infrastructure.
Get a demo to learn more about how OTORIO protects operational systems.
What is SCADA and ICS?
Supervisory control and data acquisition is a control system architecture that enables remote monitoring and control of industrial processes and infrastructure. It typically involves a central control system (supervisory) that communicates with remote devices, sensors, and instruments used in the field. Industrial control systems refer to the suite of systems used in industrial settings, including SCADA, distributed control systems (DCS), and programmable logic controllers (PLCs).
What is the difference between IT and OT security?
Dealing with the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of information on digital assets such as computers and servers, IT security focuses on protecting data and information systems. Ensuring the safety, reliability, and resilience of operational processes, OT security safeguards physical assets and ICS used in essential infrastructure and industrial processes.
What are three types of OT?