When we talk about cyber-attack; we generally think about Information Technology or IT only. However, Operational Technology or OT is also a highly affected area by the cyber threat. Operational Technology, the combination of hardware and software mechanisms, is immensely popular in manufacturing, transport, energy, water, and distribution systems. It is very important to have real-time monitoring and physical process control as there is a higher risk of security breaches when OT solutions have more frequent usage. 

It gets worse since the attack surface is growing. In the era of integrated IT and operational technology environments, previously unconnected OT equipment is now connected to the internet. OT environments and key infrastructure are being infiltrated by adversaries today from many angles, including by moving from IT to OT.

What is OT Security Surface Attack?

The whole vulnerability to attack of any organization is called ‘attack surface’. It includes all the points of entry that any hacker can utilize to gain access to the system. In case, they connect to your network; the hacker can download all the data of the present server and damage the whole system. If you can reduce the attack surface of your organization, it will be more secure. 

And for that, a surface analysis is required. If the attack surface is wide, then the attackers have more possibilities to access sensitive data like financial data, personal identification information (PII), sales information, or secret products. 

To avoid this, you need to improve the security posture to reduce risk by limiting external access points. 

How Organizations Can Keep their OT Environment Safe?

For any organization, managing the operational technology’s security is of prime importance. Here are some essential factors that will help to keep the OT environment safe.

  • Centralized Logging: Secure access is difficult to provide for many organizations. Organizations must create several access points through which different people can gain access. User access should be safeguarded using multi-factor authentication to provide secure access. Centralized logging can be used to implement secure access control. To manage and analyze all logs, utilizing centralized logging, find security holes, and improve the defense.
  • Maintain Device-level Visibility: While passive monitoring can show how an attack spreads, using active querying in conjunction with passive monitoring can spot an attack right away—at the device level. A proactive method of protecting operations, active querying provides essential information about the OT devices connected to your network. It provides essential, real-time data on all assets, vulnerabilities, and security concerns while taking into consideration all operating systems, firmware, and customizations. If you maintain device-like visibility to reduce vulnerabilities, you can stop an attacker in his/her operation. 
  • Strong Authentication Policies: It is mandatory for any user that he/she will not grant access to the system without prior authentication of their identification. For many companies, it is simpler to grant access to everyone but it will be dangerous for them to protect their sensitive data from cybercriminals. 
  • Software Vulnerability Analysis: Every organization must be aware of the software versions, compatibility, and updates within the OT environment. The vulnerability analysis will bring out all the weak points that should be taken care of.  

OT Security is a high-priority job for any organization so that they can meet the market demand. For many organizations that have low visibility of assets, OT security management can be difficult. Thankfully, there are steps that can reduce the attack surface. Careful planning along with the right knowledge and strategic implementation is required to keep the OT platforms of any organization safe. Appzlogic as a trusted partner for cyber security provides end to end service to keep the OT environment safe from cyber threat.