IT and OT convergence a major focus for companies

Information technology (IT) and operations technology (OT) need to converge to make the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) work, but manufacturers still struggle with making it work. The 2018 ARC Advisory Group Forum is planning on addressing the topic and other cybersecurity issues.
By Gregory Hale, ISSSource November 15, 2017

With the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) around the corner, that means the convergence of information technology (IT) and operations technology (OT) needs to occur. The question remains on what a manufacturer needs to do to address this vital area.

"We have started this journey a few years ago and it is really picking up steam now," said Mike Assante, director of industrials and infrastructure at SANS Institute, during a joint podcast with the ARC Advisory Group.

"Most business strategies really rely on the digital transformation that needs to occur. I like to say the three Cs, concentration, convergence, combined with connectivity, really require the three Ps that is process, planning and people," Assante said. "If you think about it, everyone should begin with the realization they have to recalculate how they think about and look at risk. That should provide them the understanding to drive a new strategic planning effort with their partners." One way to tackle the problem is to look at people, which can be the greatest asset for a security solution or the biggest issue.

Users, according to Assante, need to, "Understand who is responsible for what, what their capabilities are and what competencies they need to possess."

SANS will conduct an industry workshop Feb. 11 at the ARC Industry Forum in Orlando to help manufacturers grappling with the problem.

"No one should be doing this alone as we are working… helping people to lay the foundation for that strategic plan and hopefully preempt some of the challenges you will come across along the way," Assante said.

2017 was a big year for cybersecurity at the ARC Advisory Group Forum and the 2018 version will increase that focus.

"Last year, we had 16 cybersecurity vendors presenting," said Mark Luciw, director of strategic services at ARC. "We are expanding our coverage this year in terms of IIoT, building security, infrastructure, as well as smart cities. We are taking the focus from the plant issues that deal with cybersecurity in the OT world, but we are also talking about the IT/OT convergence so it focuses to the chief information security officers (CISOs) and that is why we are collaborating with SANS."

Gregory Hale is the editor and founder of Industrial Safety and Security Source (ISSSource.com), a news and information Website covering safety and security issues in the manufacturing automation sector. This content originally appeared on ISSSource.com. ISSSource is a CFE Media content partner. Edited by Chris Vavra, production editor, CFE Media, cvavra@cfemedia.com.

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