Connected industrial devices are expanding the IT/OT attack surface. Here’s how to upgrade your existing security tools to achieve full visibility across your operational infrastructure.
Everybody's talking about the convergence of information technology (IT) and operational technology (OT). But, what does this really mean from a security standpoint? And how can enterprises leverage their existing IT cybersecurity investments to meet this new challenge?
Previously isolated from other parts of the organization, today's OT networks in industrial and critical infrastructure facilities now comprise thousands of devices that are connected to enterprise and IT systems. This connectivity means that one weak link in the chain, from an IOT or IIOT connected device, is enough for a determined hacker to gain a foothold and create havoc for your enterprise.
As such, the attack surface for industrial environments has expanded, and not just from the standpoint of traditional devices like programmable logic controllers (PLCs) or supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) networks. Workstations, network devices, cameras, scanners, and various other connected devices are now part of manufacturing and safety systems and can make your entire network or industrial process vulnerable.
The increased exposure of industrial controllers and other critical equipment to malware, cyberattacks, insider threats, misconfigurations and even failed maintenance poses serious challenges for security teams. The cyber threat goes beyond simple targeted strikes to stealthy multi-stage attacks that can infiltrate the IT network by way of an exposed OT controller, and vice versa. To protect your enterprise, both sides need to be working together against security threats.
Cross-functional visibility eliminates major IT to OT blind spots
In light of these new types of sophisticated cyber threats, gaining visibility across your OT environment is both a pressing need and a major challenge for industrial enterprises.
In the IT space, security intelligence and event management (SIEM) solutions are the most common tool used by enterprises to combat complex, multi-vector cyberattacks. SIEM solutions receive multiple feeds from a wide variety of security tools (e.g. anti-virus, intrusion detection), analyze mountains of historical and real-time data for anomalous patterns and false positives, and pinpoint the situations that require immediate attention from the security team.
The challenge on the OT side is that these traditional security tools don’t work in operational environments. Agents, network scans, and standard IP-based protocols don’t cover the landscape of devices within the modern industrial network. As such, SIEM solutions and associated workflows as defined today cannot analyze and provide insight into attacks born on, or traversing, the OT environment.
To address these industrial cybersecurity gaps, organizations need a way to empower their SIEM systems to do more. Looking at only part of the attack surface will not detect all the attacks. Security teams need greater visibility into threats on the OT side, as well as attacks that could penetrate the IT network then traverse onto an industrial control system (ICS). To be effective, data collected from the OT side needs to live in the same pane of glass as IT data, providing decision-makers with a unified view for assessing and mitigating potential threats across both environments.
Interoperability maximizes the value and effectiveness of your SIEM
By integrating your SIEM solution with OT-specific cybersecurity tools, industrial organizations can maximize visibility, security and control across both IT and OT operations.
These synergies enhance the overall value of your SIEM system. By gaining visibility into the OT network, SIEM analytics can discover more cyber threats, particularly those that traverse networks. Bringing all relevant IT and OT data into one central repository helps to "de-silo" network areas where potential security incidents may be lurking. This integration empowers your current SIEM investment to accomplish more and return greater value to your enterprise.
You can achieve seamless interoperability through a critical feed or integration module that forwards alerts, events and insights from the OT network into the relevant SIEM system. Advanced OT security combined with the SIEM's native capabilities deliver the intelligence required to secure both the OT and IT environments.
See more, find more, and stop more
The integration of an ICS security platform with SIEM enables industrial and critical infrastructure organizations to:
- Effectively detect and mitigate threats to the safety, reliability and continuity of industrial processes using behavior and policy-based detection
- Achieve 360-degree visibility across IT and OT environments via a single pane of glass
- Perform automated asset tracking that goes as far as dormant devices and as deep as PLC backplane configurations
- Receive alerts for every change to code, operating system and firmware configurations regardless of whether it is done through the network or locally
- Improve decision-making, reduce response times and perform proactive maintenance based on accurate and detailed information
The key value of an integrated ICS/SIEM solution is that it eliminates the IT-OT blind spot which can place both networks at risk. Such a cybersecurity solution helps industrial organizations achieve unified monitoring and detection of both IT and OT threats for faster remediation and response.
Want to learn more about how you can overcome OT security challenges? Download our solution brief for industrial cybersecurity.