CISOs need to apply new techniques to resolve OT challenges to bridge the IT and the Operational Technology (OT) security gap and address IT security issues
While security teams are quite familiar with IT networks, they are not always conversant with the OT processes and systems. In the first instance, a CISO would try to use tried and trusted IT cybersecurity best practices in the OT environment as well. But, attempting to implement IT security tools to the OT environment takes too long and isn’t always effective or necessary.
OT networks do not have any modern security controls, and hence they provide an opportunity to build a security program from scratch. This will allow leveraging existing IT security resources to lock down the production environments promptly.
Eliminating complexity – When CISOs apply the same IT playbook to OT situations, there are unnecessary complexities introduced. Lengthy physical segmentation measures within the OT networks and deploying multiple security tools don’t reduce or mitigate the risks immediately. It is essential to plan for physical segmentation and to implement certain technologies that are more creative, using a specific playbook for OT networks.
Deploying virtual segmentation – While executing the physical segmentation projects within the OT networks, it is crucial to deploy virtual segmentation to zones falling within the ICS network. This ensures real-time alerts about any lateral movement, such as malicious actors trying to establish a presence, movement across the environment, or jump zones. This will ensure identifying operational issues with the set process, which is equally essential to achieve the goal of availability and uptime. This type of segmentation improves network monitoring and access control – significantly accelerating the response time, saving cost, and reducing downtime in case of an attack.
Remove actions that don’t add value – CISO needs to smartly leverage the natural characteristics of the OT networks to their business advantage. With a focus on the actions that will add value to the system, they will be able to deliver much greater value. And, the to-do-list should be updated at regular intervals to ensure that the most significant actions are always on the top priority.
These are the best and the easiest ways to secure the OT network without trying to repurpose the IT playbook to eliminate complexities in the process. Also, to bridge the IT-OT security gap, it is of utmost importance to align IT and OT teams in order to simplify the governance process.