Every individual and organization wants to protect its information assets. But, with the evolving threats, this task becomes very complicated. Most organizations are still dealing with legacy systems. This makes it difficult for them to know whether their operations technology or industrial control systems are safe or not. This article will share some practical ways that industries can secure their OT systems.
What Are OT Systems?
Operational technology (OT) refers to industrial control systems. These are used by manufacturing companies to automate their production processes. They include physical equipment such as robots and conveyor belts and software applications that run on these devices or computers connected to them. Many OT systems also use wireless technologies such as Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. This means that they can be vulnerable to cyberattacks through these channels too. If an attacker could gain access to these systems, they could cause significant damage by shutting down production or sabotaging machines. The impact could range from massive financial losses to serious safety risks for workers. They will be unable to perform their jobs due to faulty equipment. This is where OT security vendors come in, so how can industries protect their OT systems?
Assess Your OT Environment
It’s essential to take the time to inventory the assets in your OT environment. This will allow you to focus on them for protection. For example, if you have many sites and each site has its own IT department, each site likely has different security policies and processes. As a result, one site might have more vulnerable assets than another. By performing an inventory of all your assets across all areas, you’ll be able to rank them to be protected against cyber threats.
Identify Critical Assets and Focus on Them With Asset Modeling
Once you’ve established the scope of your asset model, it’s time to identify which assets are critical. These are the ones that will have a direct impact on your business if they go down or become unavailable. It would help if you also focused on allocating resources to protect those assets, whether physical or virtual. Rank these assets based on their importance to your business and the impact that downtime would have on them. For example, suppose one server has a higher impact than another server. In that case, it should be prioritized higher than another server whose result is lower but still significant enough to warrant attention.
Limit Exposure With Perimeter Security and Segmentation
One of the most important things you can do for your organization is to ensure a solid perimeter security strategy. A strong perimeter security strategy helps protect your network from attacks from outside sources. It also helps protect against unauthorized access from inside sources i.e., employees. Perimeter security helps defend against threats before they get into your network and infect your OT systems. A solid perimeter defense means that hackers will have difficulty getting into your sensitive systems in the first place. This makes it much harder for them to cause damage or steal data once inside your network perimeter.
Once hackers get past your perimeter defenses, they will attempt to compromise systems inside your network. Segmentation means isolating parts of your network from one another. So, if one part is compromised, it doesn’t affect other parts of the network. You can do this through virtualization or network segmentation.
Protect Access to Systems With Privilege Management
One of the biggest challenges for industrial organizations is ensuring that only authorized personnel access critical systems. With so many people having access to the network, it’s easy for attackers to find their way through an employee account. Cyber attacks are becoming more sophisticated every day, which can also be more damaging than ever before. This makes it essential for industrial organizations to put in place strong technology security measures as soon as possible.
To protect industrial OT networks and devices, an OT security company should implement a privilege management solution. This will manage who has access to which parts of their infrastructure. This ensures that only authorized individuals can access sensitive information. They can also make changes on behalf of other users within the system.
Watch Networks and Devices With Cyber Monitoring
Oil and gas companies have complex networks with thousands of devices connected through many networks. These include industrial control systems (ICS). These networks are essential for running operations. Yet, they’re also more vulnerable to attacks from hackers. A successful attack on an industrial network could cause severe damage. It can shut down production lines or even cause explosions at refineries or chemical plants. To prevent these kinds of attacks, companies need to check their networks with cyber monitoring software. This will alert them when there are cyber security issues so they can fix them before they become dangerous problems.
Detect Threats and Respond With Cyber Response Management
Industry leaders in manufacturing and energy need to be able to identify cyber threats early. This way, they can respond fast to cut their impact on business operations. Suppose an attacker compromises an OT system. It may be possible to restore functionality by performing a controlled shutdown of the system. If an attack happens during peak demand, it may not be possible to perform a controlled shutdown. This is because it will cause significant damage to equipment or risk safety issues for workers. In this situation, it’s better to shut down all affected equipment altogether until you apply data security updates.
To defend against cyber threats, companies need to get ahead of the curve and use the right security systems. And for industrial sites that rely on OT systems, prevention is critical, so you shouldn’t wait until disaster strikes. A strong defense will protect them from attacks. It will also mitigate the consequences should they ever be compromised. Of course, there are several ways to achieve this kind of security. But the best results can only be achieved by using a dedicated industrial defender solution security framework. This will protect your organization’s OT systems and cut risk. It will protect your organization against costly attacks that could result in millions of dollars of damages.