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IT Security Dynamics and the Industrial IoT | @ThingsExpo #IoT
Getting IT and OT systems to work together to maximize business efficiency is a tall task
By: Scott Allen
Dec. 18, 2015 09:00 AM
The quest to understand production and operational factors, distribute this information to business systems and people within an organization, and directly improve business processes and profitability as a result is not new. In fact, it has been embraced by companies for decades. This collection of operational information for use in information or business systems is known as IT/OT convergence.
Getting IT and OT systems to work together to maximize business efficiency — while avoiding negative consequences, risks and pitfalls in the process — is a tall task. However, thanks to new technologies, this process is becoming more practical and is creating the opportunities for huge economic benefits when these two disciplines are successfully integrated. But, how does this convergence affect the security paradigm in large, geographically dispersed enterprises?
Let’s Talk Security
On the IT side, corporate network security typically sees many threats. Those threats require significant attention, and consequently IT organizations have numerous options and tools to use, such as intrusion detection, log monitoring, network behavior monitoring, network inspections, whitelisting, firewalls, and more. The IT space has a much different attack surface than OT because with an IT network, the company can physically secure the building and control where the data goes in and out. Data escaping the building is relatively small in comparison to the OT space. WiFi that is leaking outside the building could be a vulnerability, but there are tools and ways to lock down that type of threat, and checkpoints where the IT department can analyze the traffic going through the network. In IT, bandwidth is plentiful and the network overhead associated with security is generally not a major factor.
Considering Industrial IoT Networks
Industrial organizations today are creating a connected infrastructure with IP-enabled sensors or IP/IIoT-enabled Access Gateways. The data generated by sensors at an asset location can be valuable to more than just the central control system. This might mean M2M communication with sensors talking directly to each other. It may mean that multiple systems consume the live, real-time sensor data directly from the field. It may even mean that operators connect their sensors directly to the cloud or other back office systems. If there is a way to share critical data while addressing security issues that can help provide information to key data users, then that information becomes increasingly valuable.
Security Through Obscurity Is Not a Solution
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