The Fourth Industrial Revolution, Industry 4.0, is breaking new ground, interconnecting cyber and physical systems for greater data sharing, and offering a springboard for businesses looking for greater agility, business visibility and productivity. While this convergence has enhanced connectivity and interoperability, it has also opened up new cyberattack vulnerabilities and altered risk models.
In a recent study by Ponemon Institute, the inability to control security, safety and privacy is seen as a barrier to operational technology (OT) or information technology (IT) convergence by 47% of respondents.1 As cyberattacks on OT environments gain pace across all sectors, 56% of IT and OT security professionals at industrial enterprises have reported an increase in cybersecurity threats since the start of the pandemic, while 70% have also seen cyber criminals employing new tactics in the same timeframe.2
This has increased the awareness and need for greater cyber resilience among businesses. To help combat this, I recently had the privilege of co-hosting an Ortus Club Roundtable on cyber resilience with Kelvin Chin, Regional Vice President of Industrial Cybersecurity, Honeywell JPAC. We spoke with OT and IT leaders in Singapore about heightened cybersecurity risks and how enterprises can be prepared for future cyberattacks.
Reducing Cyber Risks: Invest or Wait and See?
With many enterprise technology leaders faced with budgetary pressures, one topic of conversation at the event was how deciding whether to prioritize investments in cybersecurity often seems to be a chicken vs egg situation. Should priority be placed on being reactive or proactive when it comes to cyber disruption? Perhaps, the real question is: if no cyber events have occurred, does it mean there is no threat?
Ways To Better Secure Your Business with a Holistic OT Cybersecurity Platform
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There are also other factors that may influence the cybersecurity stance of today’s organizations, these include:
- Mandatory regulatory requirements
- Known threats from cyber events
- Previous known cyber breaches
Differing Perspectives: When IT and OT Converge
The need for digital transformation is driving enterprises to embrace the accelerating convergence of IT and OT systems, including the adoption of new technologies. When it comes to reviewing Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), and Industrial Internet of Things (IIOT) robotics, it is key for IT and OT stakeholders to join forces for the better management of overall risks. However, a recent study showed that 45% of enterprises do not have cybersecurity stakeholders well versed in cybersecurity at their operational or management levels. 4
That’s not the only issue. As the roundtable revealed, differing IT and OT perspectives are holding enterprises back from strategizing and investing in cybersecurity technologies.
With the IT team often custodian of cybersecurity, the focus is on managing IT risks. This needs to be balanced with OT organizations, which focus on ensuring the availability of business-critical systems, making them more careful when adopting unfamiliar technologies. This often requires a fine balance between risk management and business objectives.
4 Ways to Effectively Address Cybersecurity Risks in a Converged Environment
Building a risk management program is vital to understanding security posture. So how can enterprises start on the right foot?
- Get IT and OT in sync: Clear communication and better understanding of each other’s perspectives and requirements, will spur greater commitment and accountability when making joint decisions. Honeywell’s Forge Cybersecurity Suite helps with asset visibility and identifies actionable remediation recommendations based on risk scores to help facilitate these conversations.
- Shorten the distance: As a digital infrastructure leader, Equinix understands companies are looking for agile, private and direct access to leading IIoT, analytics, and Machine Learning platforms to support faster innovation in both IT and OT. With Equinix Fabric™, businesses can bring the compute to the data, so OT has full control of its data and the security perimeters around it.
- Robust infrastructure is key: A robust and secure infrastructure like Platform Equinix®, is critical to ensure secure interconnection to hybrid This is especially essential when it comes to collecting OT data at the edge, and sharing and migrating IoT data/workloads across multisites, multiclouds and more.
- Seeing is believing: Making a visit to Centers of Excellence (CoE), like Honeywell’s Industrial Cybersecurity Centre, is useful in gathering first-hand experience on the value of OT cybersecurity. To learn more, seek out opportunities for conversations with technology experts to better understand best practices, expertise and capabilities. It is vital to learn how a 360-degree view of an organization’s security readiness and leading capabilities, such as continuous threat detection and monitoring of key assets, can proactively sharpen one’s security posture.
Read our e-book on Ways To Better Secure Your Business with a Holistic OT Cybersecurity Platform. Learn more about cybersecurity by booking a joint conversation with both Equinix and Honeywell, or book a visit to Honeywell’s CoE showcase.