Strengthen the Cybersecurity Across IT/OT Convergence

Strengthen the Cybersecurity Across IT OT Convergence

With the vulnerabilities in the OT devices being at an all-time high, CISOs should take the initiative to strengthen cybersecurity across IT/OT convergence.

As organizations continue to expand their enterprise infrastructure, IT and OT environments are colliding resulting in massive security gaps. This has enabled organizations with an open exchange of data between IT and OT systems. As a result, they have been able to get greater insights into real-time processes and increased business value. However, the recent advancement in sophisticated cyber-attacks has organizations rethink the adoption of this convergence. 

As per a 2021 report from Skybox Security, titled “Vulnerability and threat trends mid-year report 2021,” new vulnerabilities in OT devices jumped by nearly 46% in the first half of 2021 when compared to the first half of 2020. Such growing vulnerabilities are posing a growing threat to the critical infrastructure. Therefore, organizations must take the required steps to mitigate the risks associated with these attacks and properly integrate IT and OT operations.

Here are three strategies CISOs should consider to strengthen the cybersecurity across the IT/OT convergence: 

Take a risk-based vulnerability management approach 

To succeed in their endeavor, CISOs should take a risk-based vulnerability management approach in terms of their enterprise infrastructure. They should understand the types of threats that can risk the OT environment. Additionally, CISOs should do an in-depth analysis and choose the security devices, tools as well as platforms that are best suited to monitor, detect and respond to these threats. Furthermore, they should maintain device-level visibility while aiming for centralized management and standardized technologies as much as possible. 

Also Read: The Impact of IT and OT Convergence on Industrial IoT Security

While it is possible to neglect the business side while concentrating on the technology side, doing so can hurt the organization in the long run. Therefore, CISOs should collaborate with CIOs to structure the organization in a way that IT and OT departments can collaborate together to operate and manage their new merged technologies. They should take time to train their employees to better understand how both environments work. This will help them to concentrate on eliminating vulnerabilities to reduce risk.

Determine the network boundaries and assign the required assets

CISOs should identify network boundaries and respectively assign assets, or more specifically, data connections, to establish security zones. While it seems it, isolating critical systems while providing limited or controlled access through IT systems is not easy. To achieve these segmentation objectives while keeping their business impact top of mind, organizations will need a range of tools that include secure network isolation software for cloud services as well as hardware-based isolation and application-specific firewalls.

Utilize monitoring capabilities

Gaining visibility into the enterprise technological assets, CISOs should ensure they securely converge IT and OT domains. They should utilize both active and passive monitoring capabilities with their OT domains. Security leaders should integrate OT with existing IT security operations. They should determine the required use cases that will enable them to enhance the value of investment made in OT monitoring beyond security. Additionally, CISOs should also consider using domain-based defensive systems and policy servers as part of their monitoring strategies.

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