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IT Integration within OT Systems

IT Integration within OT Systems

Are all your OT systems IT-enabled? As a provider of technical advisory services, TD Watts Consulting suggests you do not skip this.

In this entry, we discuss how the OT (Operational Technology) systems’ integration of IT (Information Technology) capabilities and innovations were sure, but a slow progression, and why half the success of keeping IT-enabled OT systems is in maintaining them.

To begin, it is helpful to understand that such integration was only a matter of time considering the pace that IT (Information Technology) has advanced. Aside from that, OT is core foundational technology—think transportation systems, scientific equipment, data acquisition (DAQ) systems, and remote terminal units (RTUs), etc.

This advancement meant multiple deployments, which, in turn, required expanded connectivity and equipment maintenance, not to mention, the convenience in everyday operations brought about by IT automation.

However, because most of the systems with OT function have traditionally functioned independently, the integration of IT functions has led to increased vulnerabilities, new areas to compromise, and hence, cybersecurity risks.

But these vulnerabilities are no simple liabilities; they are a matter of national security since OT runs critical infrastructures and key resources, such as banking and finance, emergency services, shipping, transportation, etc.

As of July this year, the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) have reminded American companies to tighten security measures across all their OT systems and Industrial Control Systems (ICSs).

Fortunately, security measures are doable. For one, efforts must be centered on developing appropriate responses to potential cybersecurity risks. To do so, consider performing risk modeling, isolating and containing components, defining the attack patterns used, and finally, implementing a supply chain that is secured at all points.

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