Are You Ready for the Convergence of IIoT, OT, and IT Security? presented at SecureWorldAtlanta 2020

by Dr. John Opala,

Summary : Business transformation and drive for smart factory initiatives has placed demands on business leaders to leverage relevant technologies to achieve the desire end goal of operational excellence. The technologies such as industrial internet of things (IIoT) are being layered on top of manufacturing floor machinery to provide that needed insight into business operations and productivity. These improvement and perceived operational excellence have come with cyber security risks which were not a common place in manufacturing space previously. It for this reason that there is now a convergence between operation technology (OT), Industrial internet of things (IIoT) and IT. This intersection is becoming very evident in manufactural, supply chain and traditional production organization or companies.Most of these manufacturing machineries were never directly connected to the ethernet networks and as such the risk was very minimal. In some cases, these organizations had organized security based on perimeter controls such as data center firewalls, site firewalls, floor firewalls that provide segmentation or microsegment between corporate IT and manufacturing operation technology (OT space). However, if the individual devices that are connected on the OT side become compromised and the threat has access to that communication link, a hacker can push malicious data, cause denial of service (DoS), or introduce malware or viruses to the entire network — even if there is a secure communication link. There are many ways to run into problems on the OT/IoT front if companies are not careful in their network design security implementation. These increase the risk and a re-thinking of how to architect security appropriately to meet the ever-evolving threat landscape with relevant implications to OT/IIoT and larger enterprise network.