Why OT Cyber Security Is The Key To Operational Resilience

By Leaderonomics|03-11-2021 | 6 Min Read
Source: Photo by Franck https://unsplash.com/photos/DoWZMPZ-M9s
Operational Resilience and OT work hand in hand.

Operational resilience is the ability of an organisation to detect, prevent, and respond to factors that may impact the flow of operations in any company. It also includes the lessons learned by the business after such disruptions and the strategies put in place to prevent the re-occurrence of the same issues.

Among the primary guideposts on your way to resiliency are tolerance, scenario testing, and self-assessments. But why exactly are all these critical to your business success? Understanding every part of your operations and knowing your business vulnerabilities will ensure that can you pick yourself up as quickly as possible after any setback. This will also minimise the impact that such situations may have on your external stakeholders.

So how can you build the operational resilience of your business in this day and age? There are many options out there you can consider, but some of the most important features to keep in mind are operational technology (OT) security and network durability. This article discusses why OT cybersecurity from ABS Group and other reputable service providers should be prioritised in any operational resilience strategy.

What Is Operational Technology?

Whenever there’s a discussion about technology, information technology (IT) is often the first thing that pops up in people’s minds. However, OT is another crucial factor in any tech-based environment even though it’s rarely talked about. Operational technology basically refers to a set of software and hardware designed to control and monitor how physical devices function.

In the past, it was popularly used in industrial control systems, but it wasn’t networked like IT. It’s also worth noting that the tools used in this technology at the time were primarily mechanical. But that has since changed, with most modern systems embracing the need for IT-OT convergence.

Inasmuch as they’re different in structure, IT and OT face the same security challenges, especially now that they’re gradually merging. Therefore, any attack on your company’s OT system can leave the critical infrastructure, such as machines, at risk of sabotage. Unlike IT, though, this breach can lead to fatal situations where lives could be lost.

Importance Of OT Cybersecurity In Operational Resilience

From the explanation above, you can already see why OT cybersecurity should be prioritised in any business. Doing so enhances the company’s overall operational stability. Here’s why:

1. OT Cybersecurity Prevents Operational Disruptions

As earlier mentioned, operational resilience is about the detection of, prevention of, and response to any business disruptions. One issue that has resulted from IT/OT convergence is exposure to all kinds of cyber threats. Today, industrial systems face a higher risk of being sabotaged than ever before.

It automatically means that any operational resilience strategy that doesn’t include any plans of mitigating such threats may not be effective today. Now, this is where OT cybersecurity comes in handy. A well-structured security system ensures that all potential risks are detected early enough and dealt with before they manage to hurt the flow of operations.

How is that possible? Well, you should keep in mind that cybersecurity has evolved over the years. Today, the solutions used aren’t only about preventing visible threats but also monitoring operation patterns to detect any unusual activities. Spikes of anomalies in the system are an indication that malware has been injected into the system. In such a situation, the best option is to cut off the rest of the network and quarantine the malware before it infiltrates the main machines.

This may interest you: What Are Your Biggest Risks In Cyberspace?

2. It Brings Company Vulnerabilities To Light

Operational resilience may only be considered an effective strategy when you know the weaknesses of your business. After all, it’s about preventing attackers from taking advantage of those loopholes and gaining access to the network. A proper cybersecurity system is designed to assess the strengths and weaknesses of any technology network before offering solutions.

For instance, a cybersecurity service provider may conclude that your remote workers pose the biggest threat to your OT security because they lack proper training. Regardless of how qualified your selected service provider is, working with such a team of remote employees will always pose a threat to your operational resilience strategy. Therefore, your best bet would be to deal with those weaknesses early enough before they lead to an irreversible situation.

3. There Is An Increasing Rate Of Cyberattacks

As technology continues to change, many cybercriminals are also updating their techniques to match these new trends. What's worse is that hackers are taking advantage of the current pandemic as bait in their phishing attacks. This explains why there has been a rise in the number of phishing emails related to coronavirus and its supposed treatment procedures. All it takes is a simple click by an unsuspecting employee and the whole network will be in jeopardy.

Despite those threats, no company is ready to back down, especially now that every business is prioritising organisational innovation to gain a competitive advantage. Therefore, the best solution embraced by most organisations in this situation is rapidly responding to make sure that customers and employees remain vigilant to any cybercrime traps that may come their way.

Advisories are sent to the relevant parties and other actions are carried out to ensure vigilance is part of cybersecurity strategies. Now you can see why this aspect is important to any company looking to build its operational resilience in the current environment.

Conclusion

Operational technology has grown over the years, thanks to ever-advancing technology. In recent times, OT and IT have started converging with the aim of making the latter even more adaptive to the current demands. However, that move has opened doors to many hackers, hence an increase in cyberattacks, which can easily impact the success of any business.

Since operational resilience and OT work hand in hand, adapting cybersecurity has become the go-to solution to most cyber-related issues. One reason cybersecurity plays such a crucial role in operational resilience is because it helps prevent any disruptions to the normal flow of operations. It also ensures that business leaders understand their company’s weaknesses while offering the most suitable solutions.

Supplementary reading: Infographic: Which Country Is The Least Cyber Safe? Which Has The Least Internet Freedom?

When talking about resilience, we predominantly focus on work or self-resilience. However, people often forget or dismiss that our IT security needed extra protection too, they need to be fed with impenetrable security to ensure their operational resilience. OT cybersecurity can help our internal system with that. Heed to the noteworthy piece above to educate yourself and safeguard your system from hackers, viruses and more. Let me now introduce you to our product that can aid in accelerating your personal growth. This product champions educational and informative articles, issues in vast fashion (pick your topic and indulge yourself in self-learning!). Yes, there might be a potential knowledge on cybersecurity, who knows? You might have to check it out yourself (wink). Necole is a state of the art learning platform that curates personalised learning just for you. To find out more about necole, click here or email info@leaderonomics.com

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