Industrial companies are relentless in their efforts to continuously improve the safety, availability, and profitability of their complex, costly facilities. Timely, reliable information on asset status and process performance is essential and this has driven an explosion in the integration of systems, deployment of new IIoT sensors, and use of analytics systems. It is also forcing closer collaboration among and convergence of previously antagonistic IT and OT organizations.
Convergence of Different Organizations with Different Values
Convergence has obvious implications for cybersecurity. OT’s focus on non-stop operations and eliminating unscheduled downtime is raising the cybersecurity issue on the IT side, and increased data from IT is raising the same issue on the OT side. Each organization’s behavior is driven by what they value, how they think, and how they are rewarded. OT professionals prioritize availability over everything else. This includes systemwide integrity and security. Unless the few-and-far-between upgrades are going on, system access is generally limited, and the environment is stable. IT thinks differently. Their priorities are characterized by access security and data integrity – ensuring that only the right people have access to the right systems and that malicious actors cannot gain access. IT systems typically require frequent – often daily - software patches and updates, which can be more difficult to accommodate in a non-stop, 24/7 production environment, especially if OT system downtime is required to perform the patch or update.
ARC VP Sid Snitkin recently participated in a webinar with Nozomi co-founder and CPO Andrea Carcano and FireEye principal consultant for ICS Christ Sistrunk to discuss the impact of convergence on cybersecurity. Several case studies are discussed in the utilities and oil and gas sectors. Sid also discusses the impact of IoT and IIoT on cybersecurity organizations and approaches. You can register to watch the on-demand version of the webcast here.