Businesses have two different types of technology to contend with each day: their information technology, and their operational technology. As these categories have become less distinct with the introduction of the Internet of Things and other similar advancements, a few new challenges to maintaining security have become apparent. Let’s go over these challenges, and what you need to do to overcome them.
What Is the Difference Between IT and OT?
As time has passed, this distinction has become harder and harder to make. It was once as simple as determining whether it was more concerned with the data your business collects, or with the machines and equipment that your business uses.
However, as these separate entities have drifted together over time, it is nowhere near that simple today. In fact, it isn’t even all that practical to refer to them as “software” and “hardware” anymore.
Today, IT and OT work together to keep processes running, creating new challenges that businesses need to contend with. Let’s briefly review some of these challenges.
As IT has introduced the Internet to OT, attackers have embraced the opportunity to specifically target these systems… especially proprietary technologies and legacy solutions. In other words, operational technologies now need to be protected from threats once reserved for information technology. OT networks are also susceptible to the threat of disruption tools, like ransomware, botnets, and other attacks intended to suspend operations, but it is also important that IT networks are protected with network monitoring solutions.
Numerous government bodies and industry authorities alike have laid down various standards for businesses to uphold, lest they be fined for non-compliance or fall victim to the circumstances these standards are meant to avert. Keeping your operational technology manually managed can become prohibitively expensive, so certain IT implementations can assist in maintaining the intricate requirements businesses are beholden to.
Mounting Security Challenges
As new devices rise in popularity, particularly the connected devices that make up the Internet of Things, the opportunities for an attack to take place see a similar rise. These increased opportunities put added strain on your cybersecurity. Selecting the right solutions to monitor and mitigate these threats is therefore crucial.
Controls for Your IT and OT Security
In order to properly prepare for the threats that the blending of IT and OT can create, you should make sure you establish the following practices:
- Hardware inventory controls
- Software inventory controls
- Ongoing vulnerability management
- Measured use of admin privileges
- Secure hardware and software configurations
- Audit analysis and maintenance
Heart of Texas Network Consultants has the experience to keep your business on the right path as information technology and operational technology become more and more integrated. To learn how we can assist you, reach out to us at (254) 848-7100 today.