IT-OT Cybersecurity Convergence

By Sid Snitkin

ARC Report Abstract


The convergence of information technology (IT) and operational technology (OT) is a hot topic today.  Successful IT-OT convergence requires close cooperation between the previously separate IT and OT groups within an organization.  IT and OT cybersecurity teams need to follow suit.  Convergence of their efforts will close gaps in existing, siloed programs and help defend the organization against new challenges.     

Industrial IT and OT Systems and Devices for IT-OT Cybersecurity sidit-otcyber.PNG

Many industrial companies still view IT and OT cybersecurity as separate challenges.  Different concerns and practices seem to justify siloed efforts and separation of responsibilities.  However, attackers are already exploiting gaps between IT and OT defenses.  For example, spam phishing is commonly used to gain privileges and entry into OT systems.  And hackers are using HVAC and other poorly defended OT systems as entry points into data centers and corporate IT networks.   

IT-OT Cybersecurity Convergence Is Necessary

While necessary, IT-OT cybersecurity convergence will be challenging.  The different priorities, practices, and technologies could be hard to reconcile.    Cultural issues, such as overcoming the longstanding distrust between IT and OT groups can be an even larger hurdle.  A convergence plan that anticipates these roadblocks is essential.

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Keywords: IT-OT Convergence, Industrial Cybersecurity, ARC Advisory Group.


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