We automatically envision a high-quality, multi-functional instrument as we think of a Swiss Army Knife to help us address a wide range of tasks. The mobile is the optical counterpart. The all-in-one, wireless home defence device is a more security-specific example. Usually, these solutions include window, door, and space sensors, as well as cameras to see what’s happening inside and out remotely, and an app to monitor it from anywhere you are. The aim is to make tracking, safeguarding, identifying and responding efficiently against intruders and other threats such as leaks, flooding and fires as effective as possible.

The method of the Swiss Army Knife helps ensure that we are equipped for several different scenarios and can respond rapidly. It also makes sense as to how industrial cybersecurity can be handled. Here are only three of the reasons why.

1. Simplicity. The 25+ year difference between IT and Operational Technology (OT) security suggests that there are few, if any, current security measures in place for OT networks, since many of these Industrial Control Systems are obsolete assets that were not developed with security in mind and were historically segregated before the digital revolution. This gives us the chance to start with a clean slate. With 15+ software, there is no need to replicate the complexities of the IT security stack and participate in physical segmentation projects that require time. It takes too long and sometimes is not reliable or appropriate to adapt the same IT protection blueprint to your OT setting. A single, agentless approach that can be deployed easily and embedded into IT processes and workflows is what is required. We will jumpstart the process of closing the IT/OT protection gap with asset awareness to recognise vulnerabilities and questionable behaviour, continuous vulnerability detection to recognise and track attacks that cross the IT/OT boundary, and safe remote access solutions with tight controls on sessions. In weeks, not months, we will begin mitigating risk and ensure continued essential process operations.

2. Total Cost of Ownership (TCO). Limiting the need to combine several different items, collaborate with more consultants, and distribute more tools, each with its own interfaces, to handle and maintain technologies makes it easier to improve security and cut costs. What’s more, we should look at governance and procedures holistically as we can incorporate OT protection into IT frameworks and workflows, which offers an additional ability to minimise TCO. Many organisations are starting to create a distinct OT governance and Security Operations Center (SOC) mechanism that causes risks and delays. Popular best practises, however, are to centralise responsibility and transparency with the CISO for protecting the OT climate. We will prevent duplicating procedures and efforts and conserve precious time by expanding current IT risk control and governance processes to cover OT networks in order for IT and OT teams to work together. Connecting the industrial cybersecurity platform seamlessly to the IT protection software helps the CISO to more quickly and successfully implement an enterprise-wide risk management plan.

3. A virtuous circle. You can’t defend what you can’t see, so it is necessary for successful industrial cybersecurity to begin by understanding what needs to be secured. This involves a consolidated and always-current inventory of all properties, systems, and communication paths of the OT, IT and Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) into the OT world, as well as an understanding of what looks natural. We may fix intrinsic essential risk factors, including vulnerabilities and misconfigurations to bad network hygiene and untrustworthy remote access systems, with insight through properties. Nevertheless, the hard fact is that we can not eradicate danger entirely, regardless of the security controls or protocols we enforce. So, it is crucial to be able to identify and respond to threats as they surface. Continuous identification and tracking of risks helps control and mitigate danger from new threats that are both known and unknown. This is especially important when we adjust how we treat our organisations and adjust to the realities of collaborative work environments. In reality, a recent PwC survey found that 83% of firms consider the trend to be hybrid workplaces. Therefore, as more personnel and third-party providers link to the OT environment directly, modifying controls with stable remote access capability minimises the major risks posed by remote employees. Closing the circle, ongoing asset inventory updates allow us to understand potential flaws and security holes when they appear so that with the current defences we can fix them.

Going back to the example of the home surveillance system… if you don’t have cameras on windows or doors, you can’t say whether they’re left open; you can’t see who’s entering your home without a monitor. The harm can already be done by the time you sense an intruder in your home. That is why a virtuous circle is so critical, from asset awareness and vulnerability protection to continuous identification and tracking of risks, and safe remote access. A easier, more cost-effective and thorough approach to bridging the security distance between IT and OT gives us confidence that we can handle whatever comes our way, such as getting in our pocket the Swiss Army Knife or smartphone.

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