operational technology
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Leaders from various industries including utilities, oil and gas have launched the Operational Technology Cybersecurity Alliance to help companies address operational technology security challenges.

Companies involved in the establishment of the alliance include ABB, Check Point Software, BlackBerry Cylance, Forescout, Fortinet, Microsoft, Mocana, NCC Group, Qualys, SCADAFence, Splunk and Wärtsila.

The Operational Technology Cybersecurity Alliance has five missions namely:

  • Strengthen cyber-physical risk posture of operational technology (OT) environments and interfaces for OT/IT interconnectivity
  • Guide OT operators on how to protect their infrastructure based on a risk management process and reference architectures/designs which are demonstrably compliant with regulations and international standards, such as IEC 62443, NERC CIP and NIST 800-53
  • Guide OT suppliers on secure OT system architectures, relevant interfaces and security functionalities
  • Support the procurement, development, installation, operation, maintenance and implementation of safer, more secure critical infrastructure
  • Accelerate the time to adopt safer, more secure critical infrastructures

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Kevin Prouty, Group VP for IDC Energy Insights and Manufacturing Insights, said: “One of the driving forces behind IT and OT convergence is cybersecurity of operational systems, like SCADA, MES, controllers, etc. OT has typically been managed as individual devices, which has made it very difficult for IT to maintain its cybersecurity mandate.

“Senior executives are tasking operations executives to get their OT systems integrated into the overall enterprise cybersecurity governance. IDC’s IT/OT Convergence survey from 2018 shows that 65% of manufacturing, mining, oil & gas and utility companies see cybersecurity as the highest priority in IT and OT governance.”

Cybersecurity is a hot topic set for discussion at this year's European Utility Week and POWERGEN EUROPE conference which takes place from the 12th to the 14th of November 2019. Click here to register to attend or for more information about the event.

Satish Gannu, Chief Security Officer for ABB, added: “OTCSA aims to bridge dangerous gaps in security for critical and OT infrastructure and ICS to support and improve the daily lives of citizens and workers in an evolving world.

“Industry collaboration to establish guidelines is required to quickly advance the posture of OT, which is already a decade behind IT when it comes to security.”

The alliance is the first group that has been established to improve cyber risk posture by providing tangible architectural, implementation and process guidelines to OT operators so that they can navigate necessary changes, upgrades and integrations to evolving industry standards and regulations. To learn more about the OTCSA or to become a member, visit: https://www.otcsalliance.org