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OT Cyber Security: 7 Ways to Reduce the Risk of Cyber Risk in an Organization

Nowadays, organizations are very dependent on Operational Technology(OT)  to run their critical infrastructure efficiently and smoothly. OT plays a significant function in several industrial industries like power plants, manufacturing facilities and transportation, and medical sectors. However, relying on OT without careful implementation can present disadvantages in their current processes.

Dependency on operational systems can be compromised in the event of cyberattacks. Cyber risks, such as unauthorized system access, obtaining sensitive information, and engaging in illegal activities, can have a negative impact on the business and potentially disrupt its operations. Cyberattacks, when they occur within the OT environment, can significantly impact a business, potentially leading to the loss of customer loyalty, financial setbacks, reputational damage, and even bankruptcy. 

As cyber attackers become more sophisticated and organizations rely more on technology, it is crucial for businesses to recognize the importance of implementing robust cybersecurity measures to mitigate these risks. When the company does not create effective cybersecurity will make the company vulnerable to cyberattacks, affecting their operations and may affect their business to fail.

What Is Operational Technology?

Operational technology (OT) talks about a hardware or software system that helps to control, track and supervise physical functions in industrial processes.

In contrast to Information Technology (IT), the functions of OT are primarily focused on computing and data management. OT provides great benefits in handling the direct control and oversight of machines in sectors such as manufacturing, energy, transportation, and infrastructure.

OT systems encompass elements such as ICS, SCADA, PLCs, sensors, and actuators. OT enhances and automates procedures to enhance the effectiveness, dependability, and also safety, and security of crucial frameworks. OT cybersecurity was developed to protect OT systems from cyberattacks, considering their increasing connectivity to networks and the internet.

Repercussions of OT Cyber Attacks

OT cyber strikes can damage important framework’s procedures and safety and security. OT system interruptions can quit manufacturing, cost money, and reduce performance. Cyberattacks versus OT systems in power and also energies can trigger power outages, water supply disruptions, and transport network disruptions interrupting civil services and private lives.

OT system failings can create mishaps, tool failures, as well as ecological damage. OT information burglary or control can additionally result in copyright burglary jeopardizing customer information, or regulative conformity offenses.  It is very essential to have strong security measures to fight against OT cyberattacks.

How Organizations Can Protect Their OT Cybersecurity

1.   Execute a Robust Cybersecurity Policy

When implementing a cybersecurity strategy, firms receive information on the precautions they should take to protect their OT assets. It should have guides for managing the password systems as well as extra controls for easier access.

Using strong passwords and regularly updating them are important steps for ensuring security and safety. Regularly updating OT systems helps identify and address vulnerabilities, providing protection against cyberattacks. Enhancing security can be achieved by implementing multi-factor authentication or employing different access credentials for system entry. A robust cybersecurity strategy enables the protection of the operational system’s security.

2.   Conduct Regular Risk Assessments and Audits

When you conduct a risk assessment of your system, you will find out the cybersecurity threats and challenges with the OT system. By executing comprehensive evaluations of their OT infrastructure, including network architecture, devices, and software, organizations can identify the risks and strategically create a cybersecurity plan. The audits can help to determine compliance with existing policies and standards on security.

Implementing regular risk assessments and audits enables organizations to promptly identify and address any security vulnerabilities. By doing this, it helps organizations to adjust to any security threats and consistently enhance their OT cybersecurity measures. When OT cybersecurity is enhanced, it can help to protect OT systems from cyberattacks, unauthorized access, data breaches, and other malicious activity.

3.   Establish a Culture of Security Awareness

Creating awareness among employees about cybersecurity helps reduce the likelihood of cyberattacks on operational technology (OT) systems.  Employees should have proper training on security awareness for them to know what to do when a cyberattack occurs. Employees become the first line of defense against threats when cybersecurity is a shared responsibility. Regular security training and awareness programs educate employees about cyber risks, phishing attacks, social engineering, and secure conduct.

Encouraging employees to report suspicious activities and fostering open communication channels helps the company identify and respond to potential threats. Organizations might lower cyber attacks and shield their OT systems and also crucial frameworks by promoting a safe and secure society.

4.   Implement Strong Network Segmentation

Solid network division decreases operational technology (OT) system cyber attack danger. The OT network is fractional right into separated areas to restrict interaction. Organizations can prevent cyber attacks and side motion by dividing crucial OT systems from non-essential or prone locations.

Firewalls and access controls restrict network traffic to authorized individuals. Network security and anomaly detection can identify unauthorized or suspicious network activities. The network department decreases the attack surface and additionally secures crucial OT residential properties.

5.   Employ Robust Incident Response and Recovery Plans

Implementing a robust incident response and creating a recovery plan is essential for proactive preparation, minimizing the impact of cyberattacks on an organization’s operational technology (OT) systems. The incident response plans should outline any coordinated and systematic ways to fix cybersecurity incidents effectively.

These plans should have specified clear roles and obligations, designate communication media, and outline steps to contain, investigate, and fix incidents. Implementing regular testing and simulations of the response plan will help to confirm the preparedness and effectiveness if real-world scenarios occur.

6.   Take Part in Continuous Monitoring and Threat Intelligence

Consistent monitoring and acknowledging the threats are essential for reducing the likelihood of cyber risks in operational technology (OT) systems. Implementing continuous monitoring involves regularly tracking network websites, system logs, and other critical data sources to detect and address any suspicious or malicious activities.

This makes it possible for organizations to instantly determine potential security and safety along with limiting their results. Threat expertise should collaborate and study new cyber hazards, vulnerabilities as well as assailant strategies.

7.   Team Up With Vendors and Partners

Vendor and partner collaboration reduces the risk of operational (OT) cyber-attacks. Third-party providers supply OT facilities, aspects services, and aid. These suppliers should comply with solid safety and security plans and fulfill safety criteria. Agreements need to define safety and security regulations, case action, and also information security.

Supplier security audits ensure compliance and identify weaknesses. Sharing threat intelligence and best practices with trusted partners enhances cybersecurity. Supplier security audits ensure compliance and identify weaknesses.

Final Thoughts

To shield against cyberattacks, operational technology (OT) systems require to be appropriately protected.  Cyber security can be strengthened and the risk of attacks reduced through the methods discussed in this blog.

Implementing these defenses is crucial for safeguarding critical infrastructure, and sensitive information, and maintaining the trust of clients and stakeholders. To stay ahead of cyber risks, organizations need to remain vigilant, adapt to emerging threats, and continually strengthen their cybersecurity posture. In a connected and vulnerable world, OT cyber protection has the prospective to ensure lasting success, as well as security for organizations.


Why do enterprises need OT Cyber Security?

Crucial facilities depend on OT systems. These systems can create financial losses, operational downtime, security risks, and online reputation damages if they are endangered. OT Cyber Security minimizes threats and enables certain organization connections.

What OT cyber threats are common?

Malware, ransomware, DDoS, expert dangers, and social engineering are the leading cyber threats to OT systems. These attacks can disrupt systems, damage information, and jeopardize public safety and security.

How often should OT systems be risk assessed?

Danger assessments for OT systems should be done yearly or when systems or hazards change. Threat evaluations find weak points, focus on safety initiatives, and upgrade safety actions.