Spearheading the critical fusion of IT & OT environments

The diverse world of the manufacturing industry is changing. 

Environments are becoming increasingly digitalised, often at a rapid rate, and are becoming more and more complex as a result. 

With this expansion comes a greater potential attack surface. 

While IT assets can often be updated accordingly to defend against this risk, updating the legacy industrial equipment that composes most of the typical manufacturing network is a far more difficult challenge to overcome. And with the increasing convergence of IT & OT environments, decades-old physical assets – often entirely forgotten and unaccounted for – are being on boarded onto an organisations wider network, becoming a highly viable entry way for threat actors.

These easy-to-infiltrate legacy assets – and the route they often provide into wider networks – is one of the main reasons that the manufacturing sector is quickly becoming the favoured target for threat actors worldwide.


Protect the IT & OT Infrastructure

The Operational Technology environments that make up so much of the manufacturing landscape are often fragmented and difficult to define with any confidence. In some cases this may be a result of historic mergers and acquisitions that continue to introduce old tech into the network.

When a single asset uncounted is a critical weak point, protecting this environment is practically impossible without understanding exactly what is in it. Conducting an asset discovery exercise is usually a simple and easy way to make this crucial step to protecting your OT network.

However, simply understanding your assets is not enough. Understanding the approaches of the people that work with them, and the processes that they follow day-to-day, provides a far more complete image of a sites overall security posture.

To assist in achieving this, Thales offer a streamlined OT Security Assessment service that promises to leave you with a truly cohesive picture of a sites OT security maturity, and an awareness of any gaps & risks identified.


Risk and Threat Evaluation

Protecting isolated OT environments alone is a complicated and difficult task – yet more often than not these environments are starting to link up with the world of IT and IoT as Industry 4.0 begins to realise itself.

As a result modern manufacturing environments are anything but static. IoT devices are connected and disconnected continually with each new device on boarded presenting a new risk to the network overall. The more OT merges with IT the more an attack on one can easily transfer to the other. The danger to operations is greater than ever.

This uniquely modern dynamism requires us to change our own attitudes and behaviours to keep up. It is not enough to analyse potential gaps and assess risks now and again – it must be a continuous process. 

This shift in approach affects people just as much as it does technology, and is beginning to be deployed across all sectors – and manufacturing is no different.


Detect and Respond in a converged world

The rise in cyberattacks against manufacturing environments worldwide means that continuous monitoring is more essential than ever - as is the ability to effectively and quickly respond to any attacks as and when they appear.

Security Operations has been a necessary aspect of maintaining a strong security posture for years, but the complexity of modern environments now means that old technologies and techniques are quickly becoming redundant. 

Conducting a gap analysis of what you currently have in place already is often the best way to work out what needs to be done to achieve trust.

And with Thales now offering a Managed Detection and Response service designed specifically for OT environments – one of the first of its kind – there has never been a more appropriate time to review your current Security Operations approach.


Train your teams thanks to dedicated digital twins

It is often said that a strong security posture is 20% technology & 80% people and process. Ultimately, the tech that we can deploy to assist us is still beholden to the people that deploy, use and maintain it. 

Therefore ensuring that the appropriate people are equipped with the knowledge & skills to securely maintain operations is essential to being cyber secure. 

A challenge particularly unique to the global manufacturing industry is that there is typically a lack of standardisation across site operations worldwide. Developing and introducing a solid set of global policies and procedures means that the operations of all sites worldwide conform to a secure methodology. Through our dedicated cyber Labs integrating both the IT environment with Equipment and OT solutions, you will be able to test your infrastructure prior to any deployment or to train your people in real conditions!


You want to know more ?

Download our dedicated White paper