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Connect: Integrating industrial cybersecurity with the rest of your business

This is the final installment in a four-part series offering an in-depth breakdown of the four essential pillars of industrial cybersecurity: Reveal, Protect, Detect, and Connect.

Promoted by Claroty
Mon, 25 Oct 2021
Connect: Integrating industrial cybersecurity with the rest of your business
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Industrial networks power business. But far too often, efforts to secure and optimize these networks are all but entirely cut off from the rest of the business. Risk should be a key consideration in any business decision. However, given the complexity of operational sites and the unique challenges that must be overcome to gain visibility into these environments, industrial cyber risk is often omitted from enterprise risk-management initiatives.

The all-too-common disconnect between OT cybersecurity and the rest of the business can be chalked up to some fundamental challenges:

Lack of native visibility into OT

Until recently, business leaders only needed to pay consideration to cybersecurity with regards to information technology (IT). Given the standardized nature of these environments, which are updated far more frequently and easier to monitor in real time, establishing visibility into these environments tends to be fairly straightforward.

For business leaders unfamiliar with the unique challenges associated with gaining visibility into industrial environments, it may feel safe to assume that as OT becomes increasingly digitized and interconnected with IT environments, these assets can be monitored and secured using traditional IT cybersecurity tools. In reality, security teams face numerous barriers to OT visibility, including but not limited to the widespread presence of non-standardized technology, proprietary protocols, and numerous remote access connections.

Claroty identifies Reveal as the first pillar of industrial cybersecurity for good reason: you can’t protect what you can’t see. While we’ve already established why gaining visibility into OT is essential, we haven’t touched upon the importance of ensuring this visibility is conducive to stakeholder communication. Given the low tolerance for downtime at industrial sites and the often disruptive nature of OT vulnerability mitigation, it’s crucial that security teams are able to justify remedial efforts to business leaders.

But given the dizzying complexity of data gleaned from OT monitoring tools unless properly streamlined, security personnel may struggle to communicate which vulnerable assets pose the greatest risk to operations. For this reason, decision makers must take care to adopt a solution designed to make timely reporting and context around OT security posture easy to disseminate.

The IT-OT cybersecurity expertise gap

The introduction of cyber risk to industrial environments as a side effect of digital transformation has caught many enterprises off guard. As a professional discipline, cybersecurity has long been confined almost exclusively to the IT domain, and as a result, the vast majority of cybersecurity professionals have no prior experience in dealing with OT cybersecurity threats. But as OT cybersecurity becomes a concern for enterprises across a wide range of sectors, IT security leaders are suddenly burdened with the new and unfamiliar challenge of industrial cybersecurity.

For cybersecurity practitioners who don’t know any better, it may seem intuitive to apply conventional IT security wisdom to OT. But in reality, the manner in which SOC teams must assess and respond to cyber threats is significantly different within an OT context. It’s crucial for security personnel to understand these differences, not only for the purpose of dealing with the threats themselves, but also to be able to effectively communicate matters OT security concerns to business leaders.

Lack of integration with existing IT security resources

Throughout this blog series, we have detailed at length why OT cybersecurity requires its own purpose-built capabilities in order to address its inherent distinctions from IT cybersecurity. However, while it’s crucial to address these differences, it’s also important to integrate OT cybersecurity with IT cybersecurity in order to establish a unified defense against threats across the increasingly blurred boundary between IT and OT. Our recent white paper, Five Essential Steps for a Converged IT/OT SOC, offers an actionable guide to establishing a singular SOC capable of addressing both IT and OT cybersecurity threats.

Claroty further supports a unified defense against IT and OT cyber threats with our extensive ecosystem of integrations designed to leverage your existing IT security resources as much as possible. Having a vast array of useful integrations at your disposal facilitates the extension of core IT cybersecurity controls to OT, while reducing total cost of ownership (TCO) for existing tools, as well as the OT cybersecurity learning curve.

To learn more about how Claroty can remove barriers that have long limited industrial networks from being securely and effectively connected to the rest of your business, request a demo.

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