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Part 3: Securing IoT by Bridging the IT & OT

Blog: NASSCOM Official Blog

Accumulating and monetizing data has never been so prevalent, as it is today. As the adage goes “Data is the new Oil”, it will be true for the future as well. With the increase in Internet of Things (IoT) devices and its capability to continuously sense and send trillions of bytes of data, businesses are churning humongous amounts of it for their own benefits.

This new data-driven ecosystem has seen the push for IoT in almost all business verticals, be it manufacturing, logistics, oil & gas, agriculture or healthcare. Such massive adoption of IoT has paved the way for Industry 4.0. It is ushering in a new era where advanced applications intelligently monitor and control remote sensors, mobile devices, and smart machines.

How IT and OT evolved over time?

In the past, information technology (IT) and operational technology (OT) were distinct and separated. Most businesses handled IT and OT as isolated technologies and engineer, maintain, and use each for different purposes. Both evolved independently overtime to solve different problems and employ different system architectures and communications protocols

IT security has evolved over several decades through trial and error, having acquired adequate knowledge, tools, and processes to handle the traditional IT security challenges, with seemingly good accuracy. Whereas evolution in OT introduced the ability to monitor and control physical devices remotely. The injection of IT-based technologies such as big data and machine learning in OT, along with the evolution in machine-to-machine communication and the IoT, enabled several innovations towards managing physical devices in industrial scenarios.

Security Still Being a Question Mark

But with the intrusion of IoT devices into the OT have developed new threats related to devices, communication channels, applications, and software as security measured haven’t scaled alongside IoT adoption and reliance leaving many companies vulnerable to attack and infiltration. A smart meter connected to the oil pipes or a smart vibration sensor attached to a piece of factory equipment opens a whole new Pandora’s box of threats.

At one end, OT lacks the right knowledge and tools to securely latch these devices onto the IT infrastructure and at the other end, IT is disinclined towards relaxing the policies to onboard devices insecurely. As a result, it creates friction which hampers the business objectives.

Working Towards a Better Solution

The need of the hour is to have an easy-to-use method that securely onboard the devices onto the IT infrastructure. But, ease-of-use and security have never been the best of friends in the past. To solve this dilemma is automation. Automating the security part will eventually take off the burden from the OT team.


Operational technology (OT) – definitions and differences with IT

This post was originally published here

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