For many organizations, the cybersecurity policies, practices and procedures that traditionally separated their information technology (IT) and operational technology (OT) strategies and solutions are no longer valid.
Because they can substantially improve their business performance by taking advantage of the IIoT and other advancements in digital technology. And they are moving toward cross-enterprise connectivity, which is causing them to rethink their cybersecurity strategies. But because of all the various systems, solutions and devices already in place, bringing it all together is becoming a huge obstacle.
So how can they simplify the approach without jeopardizing their digital journey and business performance? Let’s take a closer look.
Successful Strategies for Flexible, Scalable IT/OT Cybersecurity Solutions
Adopting a single, holistic cybersecurity approach to improve how companies detect, mitigate and respond to cybersecurity threats across the lifecycle is a challenge in three areas.
From the people perspective, because of the aging workforce, COVID and other factors, many companies just do not have the skills, resources or budget to train and upskill their existing workforce or onboard cyber experts. Additionally, they might lack the technical expertise required to select, implement and maintain their cybersecurity applications.
Processes, too, are often complex and complicated, and frequently they are not completely documented, audited and followed. It’s also a challenge to review and update them regularly, which is especially true when there is both a broad range of legacy operating systems on site and an ongoing need to adhere to multiple industry standards and industry regulations.
And technology is definitely an issue. Many larger companies struggle to maintain the complex mix of systems, networks and security applications they have installed from different vendors, some running on different platforms. It is costly and time-consuming, and it limits their ability to adapt to the dynamic nature of the cybersecurity landscape. For them, it is all about flexibility and ease of use.
Right Technology in Place
Smaller operations, on the other hand, most often don’t have the right technology in place. And sometimes they don’t even know what they need. These companies are looking for cost-effective, flexible, scalable solutions they can quickly and easily implement, but that can also continue to respond to the changing dynamics of cybersecurity as their operations grow and change.
So how can companies, regardless of size and maturity, manage cybersecurity risks without jeopardizing their IT/OT convergence and digital initiatives?
These three strategies can help them successfully deploy a holistic, cost-effective cybersecurity program that fits unique operating environments and infrastructure:
Establish a cultural mindset that embraces cybersecurity
Make cybersecurity part of the employee lifecycle. From recruiting to onboarding to employee development and succession planning, education, awareness and training is critical. By making everyone, everywhere responsible for cybersecurity, you can move employees from simply executing their traditional tasks to recognizing that implementing and adhering to cybersecurity best practices is now part of their core responsibilities.
Implement security controls that align with best practices and standards
When it comes to the technology you already have in place, always make sure you have implemented things like network segmentation, endpoint protection, central authentication, central patch management and other best practices. You should also always maintain and regularly test your backup infrastructure. Consider things like intrusion and anomaly detection, the use of allowlisting/blocklisting and memory-based protection for your host system.
Choose solutions that are right for your unique environment
Cybersecurity is not a “one size fits all” affair. Work with your providers to understand exactly what you need. For example, Schneider Electric cybersecurity consultants recently helped a customer implement a solution that perfectly matched their unique environment.
The customer was struggling to find a simple, effective way to understand and manage their cybersecurity threats. They considered implementing a complex Security and Information Event Management system, but it would have been costly and time consuming. In short, it was overkill for what they really needed. After consulting with them, we provided a simpler, scalable solution to focus priority assets and risks, with a dashboard to visualize their risks. And because it’s scalable, they will be able to expand it as their environment changes and grows, meaning they will be able to keep pace with the changing dynamics of cybersecurity.
Successful Implementations Require Unique Skills
Because Schneider Electric consultants are deeply experienced deploying both IT and OT solutions, we are uniquely suited to support your IT/OT convergence. We work closely with our customers to deliver holistic solutions that fit their unique environments and infrastructure. By integrating offers from multiple vendors and suppliers, we can improve their ability to manage current and future cybersecurity risks. And do it as part of their overall digital strategy.
Cybersecurity risks to your operations are changing every day. With fewer skilled resources and budget limits, it might seem difficult to keep up. The good news is, there is a way to simplify the approach without jeopardizing your digital journey and business performance. Regardless of how mature your cybersecurity programs are, you can implement holistic solutions. These solutions not only enable your digital strategy but improve your ability to manage cybersecurity and business risks.
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