Event Recording

Dr. Vangelis Gazis - IoT Security: A Standards’ Perspective

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Dr. Vangelis Gazis
Chief Architect IoT Security
Huawei Technologies
Dr. Vangelis Gazis
Evangelos (Vangelis) Gazis (PhD, MBA) is Chief Architect for IoT Security in Huawei’s Products and Solutions (P&S) organisation where he oversees the technology roadmap of common security capabilities for the IoT domain (i.e. IoT devices, IoT network, IoT gateways, and IoT cloud...
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Enrico Frumento: IT-OT Convergence of Security
Nov 12, 2020

Experts define Operational Technology (OT) as «hardware and software that detects or causes a change, through the direct monitoring and/or control of industrial equipment, assets, processes and events.»

OT differs from IT, in terms of functionalities, the culture of operators and threats. In recent months, we witness an increasing convergence of IT and OT systems. This area is a novel and rapidly expanding one for both cybercrime and industry. Recent IBM’s 2020 X-Force Threat Intelligence Index summarizes that attacks targeting operational technology (OT) infrastructure increased by over 2000 per cent in 2019 compared to the previous year. The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated these trends: it is the digital accelerant of the decade and accelerated companies’ digital transformations by approximately a global average of 6 years.

For example, one of the impacts of COVID-19 –at least until a vaccine is discovered– is the reduction of on-site staff. In the case of OT systems, this put a strain on the already limited resources and required an increase in external connectivity. The result is the numerous industrial plants exposed to, for example, ransomware attacks.


From a bird-fly point of view, IT and OT are still missing a holistic approach that includes cybersecurity, physical security and cyber-physical security, an integrated cyber-risk estimation and governance models able to span across IT and OT domains. Overall the primary need concentrates around as reconciliation of IT Security (typically built on Confidentiality-Integrity-Availability paradigm) with OT Cybersecurity (which fundamental properties are instead Safety-Reliability-Productivity).



Key Takeaways:

-          Status of IT and OT security

-          long term impacts of the pandemic on the digital transformation agenda of industry

-          Main challenges and trends for the IT and OT security

-          Some possible solutions

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As more and more consumers, businesses, public sector companies and even whole countries are embracing the Digital Transformation, smart devices of all types are proliferating in all areas of our daily lives. It is safe to say, however, that, after the initial rush of making every device in the world smart and connected, the Internet of Things has already passed the peak of inflated expectations, with both vendors and users of the technology finally starting to care more about such things as interoperability and security. Although consumers have recently become somewhat disillusioned about “smart homes”, the industrial IoT segment is growing, fueled by the constant need of companies to increase their operational efficiency in the digital age. Unfortunately, many existing IoT devices were never designed with security in mind and lack any technical capacity to perform basic identity and access management or protection against cyberattacks, which makes them easy targets for hackers.

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The Internet of Things is disrupting all industries and use cases; from customer IoT, to Industrial IoT. Companies are forced to become more innovative with their products whilst their services are being, or will be, digitized. Top drivers of this digitization are eroding margins and changing customer behaviour, whereas new market disruptors face security challenges. The question now becomes: where do companies decide to focus their money and efforts, in order to capitalize on this disruption?
Either on business optimization, by doing things better and more efficiently, or focusing on a business transformation, to move from CAPEX to OPEX.