Gartner warns that cybercriminals will gain enough control over operational technology infrastructure by 2025 which can in turn cause human casualties.
Operational technology is responsible for upholding processes that if threatened could greatly affect critical services. While several industries use operational technology (OT), it’s quite vulnerable to cyber threats.
There are future steps to improve the overall safety standard associated with operational technology security. However, operational technology is viewed by many as a complicated environment, and most businesses rely on third-party OT security vendors for assistance.
That’s why it’s crucial to first understand how your operational technology may be affected if left vulnerable to security threats.
For over twenty years, ArchonOne has helped several businesses asses their security posture, maintain security compliance, and implement robust security solutions that meet their needs. ArchonOne provides a proactive approach to OT security by performing a routine risk assessment and providing behavior analysis on your network to ensure your OT network is well-protected.
In this article, we’ll define what operational technology is and cover the best practices associated with operational technology security. By the end of this article, you’ll have a better understanding of how to protect your business from cyber threats targeting your operational technology.
What is Operational Technology (OT)?
Think of operational technology (OT) as any and all hardware, software, and firmware used to control industrial equipment and its respective assets, events, and processes to detect or initiate changes.
OT is used to operate industrial control systems (ICS) that are spread across a large number of asset-intensive industries.
Operational technology can be found all around us. From industrial operations located in a smart factory to facilities such as office buildings or healthcare facilities.
Some examples of OT include:
- Industrial control systems,
- Building management systems,
- Fire control systems, and
- Physical access control mechanisms.
Best Practices for OT Security
For over a decade, there has been a steady rise in cyberattacks against businesses with OT environments and systems, especially with the fusion of OT and IT.
In the past, OT systems operated offline meaning that they had no vulnerability to cyberattacks from outside.
Now, OT cyber security is in high demand seeing as digital innovation has continued to evolve and more business IT/OT networks have merged.
As more companies decide to jump on digital trends to meet their specific needs, digital innovation depends on operational technology systems to interact with information technology systems.
OT components such as industrial networks, control systems, and SCADA are now being connected to IT network components like processors and storage.
With the integration of IT and OT, any data collected from physical equipment and devices can be used to detect threats and add to an efficient security framework.
Unfortunately, connecting an OT network to the internet via an IT network expenses a company’s OT devices to the entire cyber threat landscape.
Luckily, implementing the right security solutions will provide full visibility into your business’s network traffic and will include the appropriate access controls and security policies. Abiding by OT security best practices can protect your employees, clients, processes, and profit while minimizing security vulnerabilities.
Best practices for OT security include:
- Perform GAP analysis and risk assessment.
- Evaluate the maturity level of OT security and report findings that require remediation.
- Create an OT cybersecurity roadmap and strategy for raising the maturity level in accordance with the environment and the client’s goals.
- Map out the most valuable operational assets and create a strategic plan for strengthening their security.
- Create security operations center (SOC) use cases and incident management plan.
- Integrate OT applications with cyber tools.
- Restrict user access to the ICS network and devices to avoid unwanted data tampering.
To enhance your business’s overall cybersecurity posture and protect your network from unauthorized access, consider familiarizing yourself with common cyberattack vectors.
Understanding the common types of cyberattack vectors can inform your business of what not to do.
Below are a few common forms of cyberattack vectors:
- Establishing weak log-in credentials
- Falling prey to phishing scams
- Having Compromised equipment
Next Steps To Take To Protect Your Operational Technology
Cybercriminals are developing more mature and destructive attacks targeting a company’s operational technology.
To ensure that your operational technology is protected, enlist the help of a security vendor that you trust.
First, evaluate the security vendor you’re looking to hire for the job. In order to decide whether the vendor can offer the right solutions to secure your Operational Technology, review the OT security best practices listed above. Ask your security vendor whether they can perform those services.
If your company has a converged network, ideal IT-OT security solutions include:
- Identifying each vulnerable asset
- Classifying each asset
- Segment the OT network
- Analyze traffic for vulnerabilities
- Review Access Controls
- Secure both wired and wireless access
Remember, OT Security is critical. ArchonOne can help provide continuous behavior analysis and help your team learn how vulnerable your OT network may be to security threats.
Book a free demo with us today for us to provide an in-depth threat assessment to ensure continuous protection of your operational technology.