Operational Technology Security Committee
Securing the Heart of Industrial Operations
The mission of the GCA Operational Technology Security Committee is to address the security challenges associated with operational technology (OT) environments. The committee aims to raise awareness about OT security and promote the adoption of robust strategies, standards, and guidelines to safeguard critical infrastructure, industrial control systems, and other OT assets. By fostering collaboration and knowledge sharing among industry experts, the committee strives to enhance the overall security posture of OT environments and mitigate potential risks.
Products, Services & Solutions in this domain
ICS firewalls are specialized firewalls designed to protect operational technology (OT) networks and control systems from cyber threats. They provide deep packet inspection and filtering capabilities to monitor and control network traffic, ensuring the integrity and availability of critical industrial processes.
Network segmentation solutions help separate OT networks into smaller, isolated segments to prevent unauthorized access and limit the impact of potential security incidents. By dividing the network into zones based on function or sensitivity, organizations can control access and contain threats within specific segments.
Endpoint protection solutions tailored for OT devices provide security measures specifically designed for industrial control systems and devices. These solutions offer real-time monitoring, anomaly detection, and protection against malware and unauthorized modifications to ensure the security and reliability of OT operations.
Threat intelligence platforms gather and analyze data from various sources to provide actionable insights on emerging cyber threats specific to operational technology environments. These platforms help organizations stay informed about potential risks, vulnerabilities, and attack trends, enabling them to proactively implement appropriate security measures.
Industrial IDS solutions monitor network traffic and behavior within OT environments to detect potential intrusions and anomalies. These systems use signature-based and behavior-based detection mechanisms to identify suspicious activities, unauthorized access attempts, and malicious behavior that could impact critical operations.
SIEM solutions tailored for OT environments collect, correlate, and analyze security events and logs from OT devices, networks, and systems. They provide centralized visibility into security events, facilitate incident response, and help identify and mitigate threats in real-time, ensuring the resilience of operational technology systems.
Through these mission and goals, the GCA Operational Technology Security Committee strives to create a secure and resilient OT landscape, fostering collaboration, knowledge sharing, and effective security practices among organizations operating in OT environments.
Frequently asked questions
Operational Technology (OT) security focuses on protecting the hardware, software, and systems used in critical infrastructure and industrial control systems (ICS). It involves securing operational technologies such as supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems, industrial automation systems, and programmable logic controllers (PLCs) from cyber threats.
OT security is crucial because:
Protecting critical infrastructure: OT systems control essential services like power grids, water treatment facilities, and transportation networks. Securing these systems is essential to prevent disruptions that can impact public safety and national security.
Preventing operational downtime: An OT security breach can lead to system disruptions, production halts, and financial losses for organizations. By implementing robust OT security measures, organizations can minimize downtime and ensure business continuity.
Safeguarding against cyber threats: OT systems are increasingly targeted by sophisticated cyber attacks. A strong OT security posture helps defend against threats such as ransomware, data breaches, sabotage, and other malicious activities.
Ensuring safety and reliability: OT security measures protect against potential safety risks associated with compromised or manipulated control systems, ensuring the reliability and integrity of critical operations.
Compliance with regulations: Many industries have specific regulations and standards related to OT security, such as NERC CIP for the energy sector. Compliance with these requirements is essential to avoid penalties and maintain the trust of stakeholders.
Managing supply chain risks: OT security also encompasses managing risks associated with third-party suppliers and vendors who may have access to critical systems or provide components for OT infrastructure.
Challenges in OT security include:
Legacy systems: Many OT systems were designed and implemented before the rise of modern cybersecurity threats. Upgrading and securing these legacy systems can be complex and costly.
Convergence of IT and OT: The integration of IT and OT environments increases the attack surface, as vulnerabilities in one system can impact the other. Securing the convergence of these two domains requires specialized knowledge and coordination.
Complexity and interdependencies: OT environments often consist of interconnected components, making it challenging to assess risks and implement security measures without disrupting critical operations.
Lack of visibility: Limited visibility into OT networks and devices hampers effective monitoring and threat detection. Specialized tools and techniques are required to gain visibility without impacting system performance.
Skilled workforce shortage: There is a shortage of cybersecurity professionals with expertise in OT security, making it difficult for organizations to build and maintain a capable security team.
Operational constraints: OT systems often have stringent performance and availability requirements, limiting the implementation of security measures that may impact operations.
The goals of OT security include:
Threat prevention and detection: Implementing measures to prevent unauthorized access, detect anomalies, and respond to potential threats in OT environments.
Risk assessment and mitigation: Identifying and mitigating risks associated with critical infrastructure and industrial control systems to prevent disruptions and ensure operational continuity.
Secure system configuration: Configuring OT systems securely, including access controls, network segmentation, and hardening measures, to reduce vulnerabilities and protect against attacks.
Incident response and recovery: Establishing robust incident response plans and procedures to minimize the impact of security incidents and facilitate the recovery of OT systems.
Compliance with regulations: Ensuring compliance with industry-specific regulations and standards related to OT security to meet legal requirements and industry best practices.
Security awareness and training: Promoting a culture of security awareness among OT operators, employees, and stakeholders, emphasizing the importance of adhering to security protocols and best practices.
Organizations can improve their OT security by:
Conducting risk assessments: Identifying and assessing risks to OT systems and critical infrastructure to prioritize security investments and mitigation efforts.
Implementing access controls: Applying strong authentication mechanisms, role-based access controls, and least privilege principles to restrict unauthorized access to OT systems.
Segregating networks: Implementing network segmentation to isolate OT environments from other networks, preventing lateral movement by attackers and limiting the impact of potential breaches.
Implementing security controls: Deploying security technologies such as firewalls, intrusion detection and prevention systems (IDPS), endpoint protection, and security information and event management (SIEM) solutions to monitor and protect OT systems.
Patching and updating: Regularly applying security patches and updates to OT systems, including firmware and software, to address known vulnerabilities.
Conducting security awareness training: Educating employees and operators about the risks and best practices related to OT security, emphasizing the importance of following security policies and reporting suspicious activities.
Collaborating with industry partners: Participating in information sharing and collaborative initiatives with industry peers, government agencies, and cybersecurity organizations to exchange threat intelligence and best practices.
Engaging with OT vendors: Working closely with OT system vendors to ensure security considerations are addressed throughout the procurement, implementation, and maintenance phases.
Regular audits and assessments: Conducting regular audits and assessments of OT security controls, policies, and procedures to identify weaknesses and areas for improvement.
Continuous monitoring and incident response: Implementing real-time monitoring and incident response capabilities to detect and respond to security incidents promptly, minimizing their impact on OT systems and operations.