CURRENT OPERATIONAL TECHNOLOGY (OT) LANDSCAPE
Organizations are faced with an operational landscape that includes: legacy equipment, safety regulations, compliance regulations, customer and supplier access, inherent customer/supplier data responsibilities. The apex is effectively securing all this technology and data without disrupting operations or risking non-compliance.
OT management must include complete visibility, traffic controls, and effective security policies.
OPERATIONAL SECURITY CHALLENGES FOR THE MODERN COO
Todays’ Chief Operating Officers are faced with a delicate balancing act of optimal productivity and optimal security. Pushing too hard on one side will compromise the other. The challenge is real, as the COO’s organization can likely afford neither.
A report from Industry Today suggests these are the most significant security challenges the COO faces today:
1. Unprecedented levels and rapid rates of change. The sheer volume of devices added to the operational environment makes secure change management a complex problem. Many COO’s reported 100-250 devices present across their operational environment. The number of devices added, and various types of devices added just adds to the complexity headache.
2. Practical risk management. Let’s face it, with all that change listed in #1, Risk Management sounds like it would be anything but practical. COOs face evolving threats, an expanded attack surface, and increased complexity overall. The risk management posture of the Operations environment influences the risk management effectiveness of the rest of the business.
3. Evolving cybersecurity landscape. Productivity has been the longstanding priority for successful COOs. The shift to balancing a secure and productive environment has proved challenging. To make matters worse, the air gap between outside threats and the operational environment has, well, evaporated.
Did we mention the fact that legacy software and hardware, while likely the backbone of Operations, is likely the most vulnerable and impossible to protect?
SECURING OPERATIONAL TECHNOLOGY
It’s time to wrap the collective executive minds around OT security once and for all. Operational technology, including the devices, apps, and software that serve as the backbone of productivity, are more vulnerable than ever. Effective security doesn’t equate to a full scale protective lockdown. In Ops, securing operational technology means balancing the protection of the operational environment without sacrificing productivity. Two phrases that are closely intertwined when talking about Operational Technology are “legacy” and “connected devices”; both of which need to remain secure.
We’ve created a Rapid Deployment Guide giving you 10 steps you can take to protect the ops environment now. These ten steps are designed to get you started on the path to enhancing meaningful strategies to protect your business. The ten steps are listed below. Download the Rapid Deployment Guide today and secure your operational technology.
Ten Steps to Securing Operational Technology:
Connect the Dots within the OT Network
- Choose your Standard, then Build Policies
- Own the “What” of the Cybersecurity Defense Strategy
- Protect Legacy Technology
- Recreate the Air Gap Effect
- Expand your View
- Build your Security Playbook
- Get Help from the Good Guys
- Preserve the Security/Productivity Balance
- Define Metrics that Matter
Many organizations who use this rapid deployment guide realize they’re also in need of something that will connect Ops to IT should an incident occur. Does IT know who to talk to and what to protect first in the event of an incident? Use this worksheet to build an IRP for Ops, and ensure your organization has a plan, whether a breach originates on the production floor, or in the corporate network.
DEVELOP A POLICY TO MANAGE THE MONKEY ON YOUR BACK
There’s a monkey on your back. That monkey is the burden of added security risk with every innovation and device that is adopted in the organization’s Ops environment. Risk exists in every element of people, process, and technology.
Innovative performance efficiencies often brings along added exposure to risk. To add complexity, when “outdated” devices are retroactively connected to your Ops network even more monkeys will need to be managed.
Use this guide to create a Policy for Securing Operational Technology. Leveraging this policy will do more than mitigate security breaches. It will help to manage risks like: the health and safety of human lives, serious damage to the environment, serious financial issues such as production losses, negative impact to the organization’s local economy, and compromise proprietary information (potentially impacting the entire supply chain).
A Monkey is each security risk involved in adopting technology in the Ops environment. It’s time to manage the Monkeys.
Threat management must be a top priority in Securing Operational Technology. Threats come from many sources. Media sheds light on massive attacks from overseas terrorist groups, yet there are threats lurking much closer to home; disgruntled employees, malicious intruders, complexities, accidents, and natural disasters as well as malicious or accidental actions by insiders.
and that monkey is the burden you bear of managing security risk with every new innovation that is adopted in the organization’s Ops environment. Removing yourself from the equation is the first step in effectively managing the monkey.
With innovative performance efficiencies comes added exposure to risk. The more you connect old devices, the more monkeys will need to be managed. Risk exists in every element of people, process, and technology in Operations. Leveraging this policy will help to manage risks like:
Threats come from many sources. Media sheds light on massive attacks from overseas terrorist groups, yet there are threats lurking much closer to home; disgruntled employees, malicious intruders, complexities, accidents, and natural disasters as well as vengeful or accidental actions by insiders.
HOW TO SECURE YOUR OT ENVIRONMENT, AND GET THE MONKEYS OFF YOUR BACK
Time to Identify, Manage, and Protect the “Dots” that were connected in the Rapid Deployment Guide (TEXT LINK HERE!) Simply put, the Dots are the elements within the IT environment that pose the greatest vulnerabilities to the organization.
Practical Policy Development for Securing OT
In the guide, you will be given guidance on how to:
1. Build Your Team
2. Identify Assets
3. Manage Core Elements
4. The Balancing Act to Protect the Environment
WHAT’S ADDING SECURITY RISK TO OPERATIONS
Widely available, low-cost Internet Protocol (IP) devices are now replacing proprietary solutions, which increases the possibility of cybersecurity vulnerabilities and incidents. As ICS are adopting IT solutions to promote corporate business systems connectivity and remote access capabilities, and are being designed and implemented using industry standard computers, operating systems (OS) and network protocols, they are starting to resemble IT systems. This integration supports new IT capabilities, but it provides significantly less isolation for ICS from the outside world than predecessor systems, creating a greater need to secure these systems. The increasing use of wireless networking places ICS implementations at greater risk from adversaries who are in relatively close physical proximity but do not have direct physical access to the equipment.
Roadmap to a Security-First Culture
WITH YOU ALONG THE JOURNEY
An effective Security-First Culture includes ongoing efforts to Prevent, Respond, and Recover from incidents. With that, comes a focus surrounding business continuity and disaster recovery.
This shift demands an ongoing adaptive approach in the face of a constantly evolving threat landscape. It needs to stay top of mind across the organization as everyone needs to be vigilant every day in everything they do, while the threat actor only needs to be right once.
The Next Dimension Cybersecurity Optimization process has three planning phases that lead to a practical implementation plan based on timing, resources, and budget priorities
The planning framework has three components followed by an implementation phase:
- Cybersecurity Readiness Assessment to determine the current state.
- Risk Assessment and Recommendations Report based on the findings of the assessment.
- IT Roadmap to address identified gaps and create a long term maintenance plan.