INDEX.PHP: Continuous monitoring of OT networks: an investment in cybersecurity or an illusion of control?

As the digital landscape becomes more automated and Internet of Things (IoT) devices – more widespread, operation technology (OT) becomes more exposed to a multitude of cyber threats.

Critical infrastructure and industrial environments require continuous monitoring solutions to ensure ongoing and real-time assessment of the security posture and activities within such environments. Their capabilities involve anomaly detection, asset inventory management, vulnerability management, incident response and remediation, network and user activity monitoring, as well as compliance monitoring.

In this article, we’ll examine the significance of OT monitoring and look into the key solution capabilities that help security teams ensure protection for these vital systems and their functions.

The Role of Situational Awareness for OT Resilience

Organizations are facing an urgent need to prioritize and enhance their cybersecurity capabilities due to increasing regulations, supply chain disruptions, geopolitical conflicts, and potent threat actors.

Previously, detection mechanisms relied on signatures and TTPs, but the landscape has now evolved to include advanced anomaly detection and machine learning capabilities. This has enabled proactive and context-aware identification of security events and incidents.

At the heart of robust cybersecurity in Operational Technology (OT) lies continuous monitoring technology. This tool offers real-time context, visibility for OT assets, network connectivity, and shielding against potential cyber threats. It also provides features, such as vulnerability mapping and threat intelligence, which help to identify potential threats and anomalies before they become significant problems.

The adoption of continuous monitoring technology gives security teams better situational awareness in OT environments. This can have tangible benefits, such as:

Although operational technologies are different from traditional IT systems, continuous monitoring is still essential to their security. This process should include automation, passive scanning, and manual monitoring techniques, and should consider the risk and need for appropriate control of assets and threats.

To ensure a successful implementation of continuous OT monitoring, it is necessary to have a system in place that includes asset monitoring, vulnerability mapping, threat and anomaly detection, and the use of predictive analytics. Such a platform provides continuous visibility and insight into the OT environment, helping security teams effectively identify and respond to potential threats.

Learn more about the difference between OT and IT systems and find out what to consider when choosing a continuous monitoring platform for OT in the full article here.