Cybersecurity has never been more challenging for industrial organizations. Recent attacks on critical safety systems have shown that conventional defenses can’t stop sophisticated attackers.
Growing political unrest is increasing the likelihood of more sophisticated attacks against industries that support everyday life, like electric utilities, transportation and manufacturing. The potential risks to safety, operational performance, and information confidentiality demand constant vigilance.
Digital transformation is adding fuel to this firestorm. Deployments of unmanaged IoT devices are expanding attack surfaces. Increased connectivity between IT, OT, Cloud, and third-party systems is creating more ways for attackers to pivot into critical systems. Defending them against these new vulnerabilities is both critical and challenging, as these developments can arise without warning.
Security teams may not be able to completely defend systems against increasingly sophisticated cyberattacks. And, they will continue to have challenges protecting the ever-expanding threat surface created by digital connectivity. But visibility of these threats can help them minimize the security risks. Those who know about new malware and attacks on other organizations can update their security policies and heighten monitoring of at-risk assets and users.
Systemwide awareness of device and communication vulnerabilities can drive security efforts toward the most critical issues. Recognition of changes in assets and connectivity can trigger prompt reviews and responses for new weaknesses that arise in security defenses and policies.
To be effective, visibility must be both broad and deep, covering all assets and connected systems. Visibility must also be comprehensive, providing defenders with the information they need to quickly evaluate risks and implement a proper response. Quick detection of changes is also essential, to give security personnel time to act before attackers can exploit new vulnerabilities.
While security teams have these capabilities for conventional IT systems, they often lack good visibility for OT systems and unmanaged IoT devices. This increases the risks for all connected systems.
Continuous OT network monitoring solutions have become a key tool for security visibility within complex industrial control systems. The visibility value of these products has been proven across a wide range of industrial operations.
Use of passive network traffic monitoring and deep packet inspection of proprietary protocols ensures that basic asset information is collected without violating stringent constraints of real-time, 24×7 control systems. Solutions also quickly detect any changes that occur in system assets and normal network message flows.
Significant enhancements have been made to continuous OT network monitoring technology over the last few years. Advanced solutions include capabilities that greatly extend security visibility across a broad range of IT, OT and IoT devices. This includes devices with traditional and non-traditional operating systems; conventional and proprietary communications; and, varying levels of internal security capabilities.
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