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Six criteria to consider when evaluating ICS security solutions

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Converged infrastructure is only as valuable as it is secure. Attacks on critical infrastructure have grown in frequency and sophistication as bad actors, including nation states, seek to disrupt or disable essential services or to gather intelligence into strategic operations and planning. 

The damages of a breach have been well documented. Billions of records have been compromised, costing an average of $ 148 per record, or $ 3.86 million per breach. These costs include regulatory fines, legal fees, and lost business due to downtime, remediation and reputational damage. 

As more OT (operational technology) devices and industrial control systems (ICSs) are connected to IT (information technology) systems over the Internet, the attack surface expands exponentially. Attackers can use search tools such as Shodan to identify vulnerable devices, which when breached, can cause catastrophic loss. 

This makes it imperative for OT and IT teams to work together to protect these assets and the trove of data they produce. ICS security systems need to be integrated with IT security if cybersecurity objectives are to be met. 

Microsegmentation is a cybersecurity strategy to provide more granular protection in order to minimize an attacker’s ability to compromise an entire network and wreak havoc with critical infrastructure. Host Identity Protocol (HIP) is a layered security approach to facilitate success with microsegmentation. 

Traditional firewall and VPN solutions were not architected for Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) initiatives. They were designed to protect against earlier generations of malware. As such, they are no match for the IIoT threat environment. 

Securing this infrastructure requires a modern solution that can be implemented with relative ease, little to no disturbance to the operating environment, and at minimal cost, including headcount. When evaluating a solution for protecting converged infrastructure the key criteria for OT/IT teams to consider include the critical “ities” – availability, visibility, reliability, scalability, manageability and security. 

Given the future growth of IIoT, demand is expected to shift towards purpose-built cybersecurity platforms that bridge OT and IT. Such platforms are better equipped to deal with the rising threats to critical infrastructure and the myriad of devices – up to 75 billion – that are projected to be connected to the Internet by 2025. 

This is an excerpt from the Securing Critical Infrastructure against Cyberattack, written by TechTonics Advisors and sponsored by Tempered Networks. 

Table of contents

  • Will Catastrophic Loss Drive OT/IT Convergence? 
  • Granular Network Security with Microsegmentation and Host Identity Protocol 
  • Criteria for Converged Infrastructure Cybersecurity 

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