Is OT security your top priority?

Mounika Raghavarapu   

Industrial systems such as Machinery, Assembly lines, RTUs, HMIs, SCADA, PLCs, Modbus have become more connected, these systems are also becoming the gateways for vulnerabilities. According to Gartner, Operational Technology (OT) is hardware and software that identifies or reasons a change through monitoring and/or control of physical devices, processes and events in the organization.

For the past years, OT cybersecurity was not essential because OT systems were not linked with the internet and they were not exposed to threats. But as part of the digital innovation expansions, IT-OT Convergence is now an important aspect that organization cannot let go of. With the emergence of the Industrial Internet of Things, manufacturers now talk about connected factories.

Normally, IT and OT networks are kept distinct, replicating security efforts and avoiding transparency. But in the case of attack surface detection, these IT OT networks cannot monitor and track what is happening throughout. Typically, organizations have two distinct security teams for OT networks and IT networks, so each teams will protect each half of the network.  With this scenario, it is difficult for the organizations to identify the boundaries of the attack surface as these different teams do not have an idea on what is attached to their own network. In addition to being difficult to efficiently manage, OT IT networks contain huge security gaps.

Industrial IoT (IIoT) and Operational Technology (OT) Security challenges

While industrial systems are becoming more and more connected, they are also being exposed to more vulnerabilities. The switch from closed to open systems also referred to as the IT-OT convergence, is breeding new security threats that need to be addressed.

The key most important reasons for organizations looking out to safeguard their industrial networks are the high-cost industrial equipment and the fear of causing damage to communities and economies that an attack could generate. The strongest negative impact of a breach in an industrial setup could even mean casualties in a worst-case scenario.

The top three challenges of industrial OT :

Erosion of Network Architecture

Two of the major challenges in securing industrial environments have been initial design and ongoing maintenance. What may have been a solid design, to begin with is eroded through ad hoc updates and individual changes to hardware and machinery without consideration for the broader network impact.This kind of organic growth has led to miscalculations of expanding networks and the introduction of wireless communication in a standalone fashion, without consideration of the impact on the original security design. These uncontrolled or poorly controlled OT network evolutions have, in many cases, overtime led to weak or inadequate network and systems security.

Pervasive Legacy Systems

Legacy components are not restricted to isolated network segments but have now been consolidated into the IT operational environment. From a security perspective, this is potentially dangerous as many devices may have historical vulnerabilities or weaknesses that have not been patched and updated, or it may be that patches are not even available due to the age of the equipment.

Insecure Operational Protocols

Many industrial control protocols, particularly serial-based, were designed without inherent strong security requirements. Furthermore, their operation was often within an assumed secure network. In addition to any inherent weaknesses or vulnerabilities, their operational environment may not have been designed with secured access control in mind.

To mitigate such farfetched repercussions and challenges, it is in the best interest of an industrial organization to security its IT & OT technology. An effective OT Security strategy puts in place solutions that allow complete visibility of network control traffic and establishing the right security policies and thus does not disrupt operations or risk non-compliance. A good OT Security strategy protects processes, people and profit while significantly reducing security vulnerabilities and incidents.

Cymune OT Security

Cymune OT Security offers a portfolio of OT security solutions that help industrial, asset-intensive environments monitor and secure networks, protect endpoints and deliver cybersecurity services.

In-Depth OT Network Visibility

Help you establish a complete asset inventory and an instant assessment of vulnerabilities & exposures for each asset along with automated impact-based security & operational risk scoring.

Real-Time Threat Detection

Cutting edge Security Monitoring Tools with SIEM capabilities and interactive visualizations of threats and risks. Continuous monitoring and behaviour pattern searching.

365*24*7 Support

On-the-fly to detect emerging threats. We deploy a highly skilled global team to validate and help you make sense of threat data. Our threat analysts are also available 24×7 to discuss global threats you are concerned about.