Cyber Security in Operational Technology (OT Security)

OT-Security with PAM

The innovations of Industry 4.0 are changing the world around us. Machine learning and artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things (IoT), automation and robotics, Big Data, virtual reality and augmented reality in smart factories are the tools of the future. Improved collaboration between humans and intelligent systems is observed, merging the cognitive and critical thinking skills of humans with fast and highly accurate industrial automation.

With the increasing number of components that were once offline but are now integral and interconnected parts of infrastructures, more cyber security incidents are occurring, highlighting the need to strengthen cyber resilience. This is especially true for manufacturing and industries with in-house production. The need to implement robust security solutions is all the more important as the potential impact of threats ranges from production downtime to compromised physical security, financial and reputational losses, product spoilage and equipment damage.

OT and IT infrastructures grow together

The Internet of Things (IoT) and Industry 4.0. are widely regarded as the most notable development in the manufacturing industry. For a manufacturer planning for connected manufacturing, the benefits can include greater operational efficiency, lower costs and safety advantages. The key points of Industry 4.0. can be a competitive advantage for the manufacturing industry, but it also carries operational risks.

Inadequate cloud security, a criminal attack, the vulnerability of IoT devices and IT security failures can lead to serious data breaches and losses if the data stored on IoT systems is not properly secured or access to it is not protected. A criminal could steal a company's intellectual property or stop production operations if data is stored on the devices. The operation of holistically networked OT infrastructures can create unwanted access points in a number of ways. 

Intelligent remote maintenance and Just in Time Support

Predictive maintenance is a way to prevent the breakdown of expensive production equipment by evaluating live data while production is still running. It is required to detect unusual behaviour in time and ensure that appropriate measures are taken to avoid downtime. Before the merging of IT and and OT landscapes and the associated arrival of IoT devices and Industry 4.0 in manufacturing, experts and machine operators had to schedule fixed periods of maintenance work at regular intervals to identify what needed to be repaired. Automating a strategic maintenance schedule helps reduce time by 20-50 per cent and costs by 5-10 per cent. It also helps maintain efficiency and minimise idle time.

Using analytical data to optimise the efficiency of machines means that unnecessary maintenance is no longer required. In recent years, the manufacturing industry has implemented predictive maintenance solutions in a variety of scenarios, from monitoring a single, critical machine to global implementation.

Central access control for secure Operational Technology (OT)

An essential part of our daily lives is based on the uninterrupted operation of industrial automation and control systems. Therefore, safe and secure operation of OT systems is of elementary importance. The ongoing transformation towards Industry 4.0 is having a major impact on the manufacturing industry. This change brings with it a significant increase in connectivity, which potentially increases the exposure of these systems to security risks.

Access control is one of the most important security mechanisms for restricting access to resources by privileged users. Within industrial access control systems, this technique is primarily used to restrict access to system resources by third parties and manufacturers. In a dynamic manufacturing system of Industry 4.0. granular access control between devices must be integrated.

Design IT/OT interfaces securely

IT/OT convergence is the integration of information technology systems with operational business technology systems. Advances in technologies such as IoT and Big Data are enabling the digital world to understand and influence the physical, operational world. IT/OT convergence can bring together business processes, controls and insights into a single unified environment if implemented correctly.

IT/OT convergence enables companies to become more resource and cost efficient by using big data from the production environment to manage operations. However, in IT/OT convergence, the entire technology environment should be networked, collaborative and secure. Secure data exchange and communication between IT and OT is the backbone of any digitalisation strategy.

For years, companies developed their operations technology (OT) and information technology (IT) departments in parallel, resulting in inefficient processes and communication problems. With the increasing number of disruptive technologies, such as the Internet of Things (IoT), there is an overlap between the two departments. This gap is multiplied by high-speed internet connections, increased computing power and the proliferation of smart devices. This convergence of OT and IT is commonly referred to as the Industry 4.0 revolution.

Protect endpoints and securely enable updates and patches

The use of advanced technologies and connected devices has increased the potential risks of cyber-attacks for businesses. These devices or endpoints complicate the task of securing systems. Therefore, companies need to implement security solutions that protect their critical infrastructure from cyber-attacks.

If the goal is security and reliability of industry solutions, all components should be protected, especially endpoints. Identity and access management, networking and zero trust approaches should be implemented to manage authorisation and authentication of processes and endpoints, both for third parties and internal employees. Endpoints generally include critical communications infrastructure, edge devices, cloud servers and more.

VISULOX - the indispensable portal for secure remote support

VISULOX provides risk-based insights and optimised solutions to protect its customers' complex IT and OT environments. We help them gain insights into the cybersecurity posture of their production environment where OT and IT domains exist and interact. With our transparent security solutions, all remote access to IT systems by privileged users and administrators can be controlled centralized .

VISULOX gives employees individualised access rights. Companies maintain compliance with legal regulations and requirements through control solutions. We provide remote access management with transparency and security. In addition, we cover the entire OT cybersecurity spectrum in our assessment by following industry-recognised standards and covering topics such as risk management, governance, incident response and identity management.

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