Operational technology systems are at the core of various industries, such as power, manufacturing, and distribution. They have helped transform by digitalizing and automating various processes when the IT revolution kicked in.
OT systems play a key role in ensuring that daily processes are carried out smoothly. But, operational technology systems are also rigid and deterministic. They are designed and developed in a particular way and function in a set manner.
OT systems also run on legacy systems. This makes them more vulnerable to cyber attacks, such as malware. And the attacks on OT systems are only increasing by the day. This is also due to IT/OT convergence which makes the systems more interconnected. Moreover, having different OT vendors, dispersed plants, and hard-to-reach points further add to the complexity.
Thus, to protect your OT systems, you need to have a robust OT cybersecurity solution. These systems are specifically designed to protect your physical assets and devices. Robust OT cybersecurity solutions collect, track, and manage OT endpoints and network data to protect your OT systems.
There are various OT security vendors, each having their own set of services and OT security tools? So, how do you determine the best solution for your industry? Well, you might have some Questions to Ask When Choosing an OT Cybersecurity Solution. Only after you get satisfactory answers to all, can you implement the cyber security solution in your industry. Some of the questions include:
- Can the solution monitor the use of social media?
- Can it monitor critical files on the endpoints?
- Can you monitor endpoints using multiple methods?
- Can you detect the authentication of users on endpoints?
Furthermore, OT cybersecurity solutions provide many other benefits to organizations. Here is a look at some of the major benefits provided by them.
- Reduce System Downtime
Downtimes and delays can result in organizations losing a large amount of time and money.
OT security devices and solutions protect systems continuously against a myriad of attacks. This means the systems are always operational and don’t face downtime issues.
This helps improve the systems’ efficiency, efficacy, and operational capacity. This, in turn, increases business productivity and overall profits.
- Improve Asset Management
OT systems function as the brains of the industry. Thus, you need to have complete visibility over them. But, as the operations expand, there is a lack of visibility over OT systems. This creates major hurdles with efficient management of the OT systems.
But, with an OT security solution, you have enhanced visibility over all your OT endpoints. Thus, you can manage OT systems better by having in-depth details about the full inventory.
- Enhance Patching
OT security devices and systems need to be patched with updates on a regular basis. This practice ensures complete protection against cyber attacks and also improves the usability of the devices. But, patching is a complex process. It needs to be handled with proper judgment.
For example, you cannot patch all your OT devices at once. Patching must be done on a priority basis, based on asset criticality.
OT cybersecurity solutions provide in-depth information about asset criticality. They also help prioritize them based on the cyber attack risks and outcomes. You can thus carry out asset patching better with an OT cybersecurity solution in place.
- Provide Protection to Backup Assets
Most industries have a backup system that can be used in case the main system falls prey to a cyberattack. But, cybercriminals may also try to compromise the backup systems to cripple the organization to the core.
An operational technology cybersecurity solution ensures that even the backup systems are well-protected against cyber threats. Thus, to improve overall security, you should also put in place an OT cybersecurity solution for your backup assets.
- Reduce Software Vulnerabilities
Operational technology cybersecurity solutions carry out critical software analyses continuously in real-time. They help find vulnerabilities that cybercriminals can exploit to infiltrate your systems. They also suggest the best way to resolve the vulnerabilities. This can help improve your cybersecurity measures.
For example, an OT cybersecurity solution can scan the software on all your critical assets, devices, and tools. If there are new updates available, it will automatically update the system software to enhance your protection measures.
Thus, OT cybersecurity solutions provide information about where your software weaknesses lie. They also suggest the best remedies to fix them with the vulnerability management functionality.
- Provide Secure Logging
One of the organizations’ biggest challenges is providing secure access to their employees. They find it difficult to establish different access levels for different users.
An OT cybersecurity solution helps organizations mitigate this issue. With an OT solution in place, you can easily assign various access levels to different employees in the organization. You can also enable two-factor authentication to enhance your OT security measures.
Moreover, you can have centralized logging with an OT security solution. This helps track and manage all system logins to help identify security loopholes and enhance defense measures.
- Improve IT/OT Collaboration
The differences between IT vs OT are diminishing by the day with IT/OT convergence. OT cybersecurity solutions help enhance IT/OT collaboration. This can help strengthen your overall cybersecurity measures.
For example, OT cybersecurity solutions provide cybersecurity teams access to various types of contextual data. This includes the type of asset, asset criticality, where it is located, and who owns it.
Thus, cybersecurity teams across locations can manage assets with enhanced visibility. They can effectively collaborate on cybersecurity practices and measures.
- Automate Cybersecurity Processes
Most solutions provided by OT security vendors have automation capabilities. They reduce the manual work involved with cybersecurity practices. This, in turn, helps save time, effort, and money, and provides enhanced cybersecurity.
For example, advanced OT security tools can automatically collect data from various sources. It then presents it on a dashboard with easy-to-understand graphs and charts. This eliminates the manual spreadsheet creation process. You can use the saved time, money, and resources on other processes.
OT cybersecurity solutions have become extremely important as OT systems have become one of the prime targets for cyberattacks, such as ransomware. They provide protection against a myriad of cyber attacks, help increase visibility, enhance output, streamline asset management, and much more.
If you still haven’t implemented an OT cybersecurity solution in your organization, what are you waiting for? Do it as soon as possible. Many OT security vendors provide excellent OT security tools and solutions. After proper vetting, hire a vendor that best suits your security needs and budget.
We wish that your OT systems always remain safe and secure.