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Why is OT Security So Important?

, 19 July 2018 -- OT (Operational Technology) networks have a crucial role to play in production, emergency services, defense, critical infrastructure, financial systems, food and agriculture, and more.

OT (Operational Technology) networks have a crucial role to play in production, emergency services, defense, critical infrastructure, financial systems, food and agriculture, and more. Supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems, as well as industrial control systems (ICS), are included in OT networks and devices. They can be positioned anywhere, e.g. outside chemical plant managing valves and switches, inside an automated manufacturing floor or even out in the arctic supervising oil and gas pipelines.

OT systems usually do simple but essential tasks, like supervising a valve and closing it when a specific value is set. Because of this, they can go on doing their tasks for years with only a little change. This also means that they sometimes even run on outdating operating systems and old hardware using homegrown applications.

Traditionally OT systems have been kept isolated from IT networks and are also usually owned, handled and operated by a separate team inside an organization. This is because OT systems usually perform supervising and managing the extremely sensitive processes linked to critical infrastructure. Another notable thing is that these systems can be super delicate. Even a harmless thing like an active system scan can make these devices fail. Such failure or compromise can cause serious though not disastrous outcomes.

OT security needs an incorporated approach that involves recognizing assets, recognizing and separating susceptible or compromised devices, setting user identity as well as Role-Based Access Controls, encrypting communications, establishing susceptibility identification as well as patch management protocols, installing ruggedized devices where required, securing industrial IoT devices, ensuring compliance with standards like FERC, ISO 27001, ISA-99, IEC-62443 and NERC v5, actively supervising lateral traffic, segmenting OT systems and devices and employing active behavioral analytics.

OT visibility and security is essential for being able to provide food, water, energy, pharmaceuticals and other services to consumers without any hindrance. This also means that security cannot come in between making these things possible and tools that do this can be bypassed or ignored.

Doing this needs a security approach that surpasses traditionally isolated and separate security devices. OT networks can occupy huge expanses of real estate and span various network segments. Security needs wide, automated and integrated security systems that can detect and respond to threats instantly, anywhere throughout the extended network.

The ROI on OT or SCADA security should be constantly weighed against the costs of being unable to manufacture an end product in a circumstance of the disastrous cyber incident.

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Submitted by thenewsgiraffe on Thursday, 19 July 2018 at 10:58 PM
Category: Business
 
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