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Digital Transformation

Bridge the Gaps Between OT and IT

The Data Gap: IIoT and data analytics

Today, companies, especially in the manufacturing sector, have advanced operational (OT) and information technology (IT) infrastructures. These technologies are so intertwined with the business processes of companies that they have become a part of the daily lives of the personnel using them.

As these systems have evolved over many years, they have fundamentally diverged from each other over time, resulting in different viewpoints and data silos within the same organization.

While operational technologies focus only on production and operations within a closed network specific to them, information systems have focused on different infrastructures and different data in order to respond to the technology needs arising from business requirements.

The winds of digitalization that have been blowing hard in recent years have drawn the attention of organizations to the data they produce. There is now a need for fast and healthy direct feeding of operational data in the decision-making stages of business systems. In addition, studies to increase efficiency such as real-time monitoring of equipment used in production or in the field, OEE and Predictive maintenance have started to be carried out.

As IoT/IIoT solutions increasingly use intelligence and data analytics and integrate with enterprise management systems, the lines between operational technology (OT) and information technology (IT) are blurring.

The lack of OT expertise in the IT department creates challenges that require a better understanding of the use of technology to maximize an organization’s operations and business value.

Underpinning all of these needs is the need to connect two different silos of data, and two worlds that have drifted apart over the years must now come together.

To fill this data gap between business systems (IT) and operational systems (OT), Time Series-based infrastructures are needed that can collect data from operational technologies instantaneously and process and present this data to meet the requirements of business systems.

In this way, operational data can be easily collected, stored, analyzed and integrated with other systems.

Security Gap OT Cybersecurity

The importance of OT cybersecurity is clear, the shutdown of a manufacturing organization can cause unaffordable financial losses and even loss of life, but in reality cybersecurity efforts are often focused on IT.

When it comes to integrating OT technology, traditionally isolated from IT network protocols, familiar IT protocols and security become ineffective. Hardware and software that are now considered obsolete and insecure in the IT world are abundant in OT environments, and OT operations, which operate at near millisecond levels with real-time communications, cannot afford any delays due to firewall, antivirus, authorization and authentication applications.

While there are overlaps between IT and OT cybersecurity, there are many different technologies and approaches that require special attention. A business cannot simply “integrate” an existing IT cybersecurity framework into an OT environment and expect good results.

Cybersecurity cannot be purchased, but if applicable organizational processes and rules are determined and assimilated as a culture within the organization, future attacks can be survived with minimal damage or there may be an opportunity to intervene without causing damage.

Based on IEC 62443 and NIST SP 800-32, for example, the following main steps can be used as a process:

1- Create a broad-based security team (OT+IT)
2- OT Safety Rules should be determined
3- Inventory OT assets
4- Risk Assessment of OT Assets should be performed
5- Regulatory/Preventive actions should be defined and prioritized
6- Incident and response plans should be created
7- Initial and Update trainings should be planned
8- Continuity of the process must be ensured

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