Industrial cybersecurity has always been challenging. However, the pandemic we are facing in 2020 made it even more complicated. According to the recent report from the ARC Advisory Group1, the number of remote workers among industrial organizations has increased by 53%, creating additional tasks for the industrial IT and OT professionals. At the same time only about one quarter of the industrial companies developed their incident response plans.
While some of the large industrial enterprises may have enough budgets and OT security professionals to address all their OT security projects, others experience lack of resources. According to the same report, 24% of industrial organizations came across reduced ICS budgeting. Thus, they must carefully prioritize their needs, that requires visibility through the most critical areas of their industrial infrastructures.
Finally, industrial companies across the Energy, Oil & Gas, Utility, Manufacturing, and other industrial verticals are so diverse, that there is no single security solution that would fit them all. Their security requirements can be so authentic, that there can be no ready solution on the market, or it can be difficult to find.
There is good news for the companies, that are thinking of where to start addressing their OT security agenda. Following 5 universal steps described below any industrial organization can recognize, structure, and prioritize its real security needs. Moreover, it can identify the most required actions with the budgets and resources available now.
Companies often underestimate the importance of cyber security diagnostics. However, this step is vital for sensitive OT networks, as it allows to get visibility through existing security processes. It also helps to identify problems, set adequate security objectives, and plan next steps with confidence. Gaining the understanding of what technologies are really needed, it is possible to wisely spend the available budget.
With the high diversity of OT environments across multiple industrial verticals, it may be difficult to find a single technology or a vendor that could satisfy all client’s OT security requirements. It is more common to find a combination of compatible technologies scalable for the needs of the industrial organization. If there is no suitable solution available on your market, the best option can be to scout for a suitable technology among big, small, or start up security vendors, or even develop it from scratch.
Industrial process continuity as well as human and environmental safety are the top priorities for OT networks. Therefore, OT security solutions need to be carefully implemented and configured according to local and international compliance standards, that include ISO / IEC 27001, NIST SP, ICS (ISA / IEC 62443), NERC CIP, and other reference standards.
OT security management can be complex, as it covers multiple areas and requires diverse security management skills. Moreover, approach to cyber security of IT and OT networks is different, leading to the shortage of security professionals among industrial organizations. Industrial enterprises can overcome this challenge by covering security management roles and governing security projects – either internally or with the outsourced SOC services. Constant security monitoring helps to recognize suspicious patterns and detect security incidents and cyber-attacks at their early stages.
Cyber security is a constantly developing area, that requires contribution from every employee inside an industrial organization. Common security awareness training is used to develop security skills and healthy daily habits among non-IT teams and C-level managers. At the same time advanced training, that include dedicated OT security, Threat Intelligence, and other advanced courses are used to upskill IT and OT security professionals, responsible for protection of OT infrastructures against cyber-attacks.
If you want to learn more on how to start addressing the OT security agenda in your company, as well as ask questions on Industrial cybersecurity, join the webinar on 7/10 by registering here.
 ARC Advisory Group “The State of Industrial Cybersecurity in the Era of Digitalization”, September 2020
Image by SD-Pictures
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