Enrico Frumento: IT-OT Convergence of Security

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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

Language: English • Duration: 17:56 • Resolution: 1280x720

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