The past two decades have generally seen business technology in one of two camps: either IT (information technology), which includes all of a business’ computers, peripherals, and networking equipment, or OT (operational technology), which included everything else. As time has passed, both have advanced, and now both carry the risks once limited to IT. Let’s examine how you can better secure your business by focusing on the convergence of IT and OT.
What Divides IT and OT?
Nowadays, the difference between these two categories has become slim, largely thanks to the Internet of Things. IT is the technology used to manage any of the business’ collected data, while OT is the technology that facilitates the business’ operability. As the two have merged, it has become critical to protect both from the threats to businesses out there.
Now, IT and OT work in tandem to keep a business effective and operational, which can put decision makers in a tough spot. With both sides needing protection, costs have swelled and now their technology demands more of their focus. Let’s go over a few reasons why:
While the IoT can be increasingly useful as innovation moves technology forward, it can be equally problematic to attach additional devices to your IT network. As the typical IT department often doesn’t think of OT systems when considering your endpoints, they are left vulnerable to cyberattacks directed towards them—including ransomware attacks, man-in-the-middle attacks, and others. To avoid downtime in your OT, you need to include protections for these technologies in your security strategy.
Attacks also aren’t the only thing that modern businesses need to worry about. Various government bodies, industry authorities, and local regulations have set constraints and standards for businesses that fall under certain industries must follow. Of course, this leads to expensive equipment maintenance and other challenges for businesses to deal with. To help alleviate these costs, many IT solutions are now used to automate tasks, but in doing so, sometimes exposing their OT to greater risk.
Growing Security Issues
The Internet of Things is actively being innovated upon, which businesses see as an opportunity to improve some aspect of their operations. Unfortunately, many don’t consider the fact that each device added to their processes adds another potential access point for a threat.
How to Better Protect Your IT and OT
We have assembled a brief list of activities that will help you ready yourself against the risks that the merging of IT and OT is causing. If you want or need assistance with any of these considerations, don’t hesitate to reach out to Emerge:
- Hardware inventory controls
- Software inventory controls
- Ongoing vulnerability management
- Measured use of admin privileges
- Secure hardware and software configurations
- Audit analysis and maintenance
Our team can help you keep your business secure, while still boosting its operational effectiveness. To learn more, give us a call at 859-746-1030.