Operational Technology Industry: An Overview of Recent Developments in the Sector
17 Sep 2023
Operational technology (OT) involves the utilization of both hardware and software for industrial automation process control, primarily interacting with the tangible environment. The sector of operational technology involves industrial control systems like supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems, distributed control systems (DCSs), and programmable logic controllers (PLCs).
The combination of operational technology and information technology has proven to be a significant trend within the industrial sector. In past years, these two domains have operated in different environments. The emergence of innovations like the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and cloud computing is connecting these technologies for greater operational efficiency. This convergence facilitates improved communication, data interchange, and the seamless integration of OT and IT systems, ultimately leading to heightened operational efficiency and more informed decision-making processes.
Furthermore, technologies like HMI/SCADA empower operators to enhance their situational awareness, enabling them to access visualizations from any location and at any time. These systems also facilitate crucial equipment control, offering a centralized perspective of operational processes.
The operational technology market is experiencing growth due to factors such as the increased focus on strategic government initiatives and an expansion of industrial activity in emerging economies.
Operational technology security:
Operational technology (OT) devices that may have operated independently in the past are now integrated with IT networks and various solutions, including the cloud, servers, and fundamental security features like firewalls. This heightened connectivity opens doors to advantages such as remote access control and automated system updates. However, it also presents potential vulnerabilities through which hackers can infiltrate computer systems and introduce new threats to system stability and uninterrupted operation.
Implementing a defense-in-depth strategy involves deploying various security measures across multiple layers of the environment, encompassing elements such as operating systems, container platforms, automation tools like SaaS assets, cloud services, and Kubernetes. This approach guarantees comprehensive monitoring and early automated responses to a wide range of threats, including both basic computer worms and more intricate computer viruses like ransomware.
Honeywell declared the acquisition of SCADAfence:
On 18 July 2023, Honeywell announced its acquisition of SCADAfence, an Israeli company specializing in cybersecurity solutions for operational technology (OT) and the Internet of Things (IoT), particularly for monitoring extensive networks. This acquisition is intended to bolster Honeywell's cybersecurity portfolio. SCADAfence, located in Tel Aviv, Israel, is renowned for its proficiency in threat detection, compliance management, and asset discovery.
The plan is to integrate SCADAfence's offerings into Honeywell Connected Enterprise's Forge Cybersecurity+ suite. Honeywell Connected Enterprise serves as Honeywell's software division, with a focus on sustainability, digitalization, and providing Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solutions for operational technology (OT) cybersecurity.
CISA and MITRE collaborated to release an open-source extension for MITRE Caldera™ in September 2023:
The MITRE Caldera™ for OT is accessible to the public as an extension of the Caldera platform. This extension enables security teams to conduct automated adversary emulation exercises with a specific emphasis on threats targeting operational technology environments.
Caldera for operational technologies is now available on GitHub. Being an open-source platform, Caldera for operational technologies will continue to grow, incorporating support for new environments, protocols, and attack scenarios. MITRE acknowledges and values CISA's collaboration in contributing to the initial set of modules. Furthermore, MITRE is actively collaborating with CISA and other organizations to develop and release additional open-source modules for Caldera for operational technologies.
Authors Bio- Koyel Ghosh is a blogger with a strong passion and enjoys writing in miscellaneous domains, as she believes it lets her explore a wide variety of niches. She has an innate interest in creativity and enjoys experimenting with different writing styles. A writer who never stops imagining, she has been serving the corporate industry for the last five years.