End Users Share Strategies for Dealing with IT-OT Convergence and Cybersecurity

By Larry O'Brien

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ARC Report Abstract

Overview

The convergence of information technology (IT) and operational technology (OT) is a popular topic these IT-OT Convergence Requires Involvement from the C-Suite Down loit-ot.JPGdays, but one rarely discussed in the context of cybersecurity. The Internet of Things drives accelerated adoption of commercial information technology (IT) into the manufacturing operations and critical infrastructure spaces. End users are adopting an increasing number and range of sensors that have connectivity to both the OT and IT worlds. End user companies and asset owners have taken a variety of approaches to address the need to coordinate and integrate IT, OT, and IIoT cybersecurity programs and activities. This includes the use of security operations centers (SOCs).

But convergence is more than a technology issue. Many end users experience organizational challenges as they merge IT and OT level responsibilities in their own organizations.  The ever-increasing cybersecurity threat compounds this issue. A successful response must cover the full spectrum of people, process, and technology challenges. 

IT-OT convergence and cybersecurity were recently addressed in a session at the ARC Industry Forum in Orlando, February 12-15. Case study presentations by Dow Chemical, Braskem, and Sunoco shared these companies’ respective challenges, successes, and lessons learned in this area.  

Future IT-OT Convergence Challenges Require a Broader Perspective

It is no longer possible to compartmentalize systems and treat their security as a bounded problem. The convergence of products and technologies means that “everything is connected,” which requires a much broader perspective.  In addition to looking at a broader range of solutions and technology, we also must take a longer perspective in terms of the time-line or lifecycle.

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Keywords: IT-OT Convergence, Cybersecurity, Internet of Things, ARC Advisory Group.

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