Building a cybersecurity team specifically focused on Operational Technology (OT) requires careful planning and consideration. OT security requirements are quite different than IT and cannot be covered by the traditional IT SOC and its roles. So, how do you staff this vital, OT-specific function?
Radiflow works with OT security professionals across the globe. Here’s our step-by-step guide to help you staff your OT cybersecurity team effectively.
- Needs and Objectives
Define your organization’s goals, the scope of your OT environment, and the specific cybersecurity challenges you face. Determine whether you need a dedicated in-house team or if you can leverage external expertise through partnerships or consultants.
2. Roles and Responsibilities
Identify the roles required for your team based on your objectives. Common roles include:
- OT Security Manager oversees the entire team and sets the cybersecurity strategy.
- OT Security Analysts monitor and analyze OT network traffic, identify threats, and respond to incidents.
- Industrial Control System (ICS) Engineers understand the technical details of your OT systems and devices to implement effective security measures.
- Vulnerability Assessment Specialists conduct regular assessments of your OT infrastructure to identify vulnerabilities.
- Incident Responders develop and execute incident response plans specific to OT environments.
Depending on the size and structure of your operation, one person might be able to fulfill more than one role.
3. Skillset Requirements
Look for candidates with a mix of skills that encompass both the IT and OT domains. On the IT side, successful security personnel will know about endpoints, access, data, and networks. Key OT skills include knowledge of ICS protocols (MODBUS, DNP3, OPC), network segmentation, industrial automation systems, cybersecurity frameworks (NIST, IEC 62443), and familiarity with relevant regulations (NERC CIP, NIS 2, etc.).
4. Recruitment and Hiring
Advertise your job openings on relevant platforms, such as cybersecurity job boards, industry conferences, and social media. Consider partnering with specialized recruitment agencies that understand the unique needs of OT cybersecurity. Better still, check with Radiflow as we know who’s who in this industry.
5. Candidate Assessments
During the interview process, assess candidates’ technical skills, experience with OT environments, problem-solving abilities, and their understanding of the unique challenges of OT cybersecurity. Scenario-based questions can help gauge their practical knowledge.
6. Training and Skill Development
Don’t neglect the people you already have. Given the evolving nature of cybersecurity, provide continuous training for your team members to keep them updated with the latest threats and defense strategies specific to OT environments.
7. Collaboration and Communication
OT cybersecurity teams need to work closely with other departments such as IT, operations, and engineering. Look for candidates with strong communication skills and the ability to bridge the gap between technical and non-technical stakeholders.
8. Cultural Fit and Attitude
A positive attitude towards learning, adaptability to changing circumstances, and a strong sense of responsibility for safeguarding critical infrastructure are essential qualities in an OT cybersecurity team.
9. Diversity and Multidisciplinary Approach
A diverse team with members from different backgrounds can bring varied perspectives to the table and enhance problem-solving abilities.
10. Tools and Resources
Provide your team with the necessary tools and resources, such as specialized cybersecurity software for OT environments, monitoring tools, risk management, and access to relevant threat intelligence sources.
11. Continuous Improvement
OT cybersecurity is a long-term commitment. Foster a culture of continuous improvement by encouraging your team to learn from incidents, share knowledge, and adapt their strategies based on emerging threats.
12. Mentorship and Career Growth
Offer mentorship opportunities within the team to help junior members learn from experienced professionals. Provide a clear career path for team members to motivate them to excel and stay with the organization.
13. Stay Abreast of Industry Trends
Encourage your team to participate in industry conferences, webinars, and forums to stay updated on the latest trends, technologies, regulations, and best practices in OT cybersecurity.
Remember that staffing an OT cybersecurity team is an ongoing process that requires flexibility and adaptability to address the ever-changing threat landscape and technology advancements.
Radiflow is here to help. Feel free to contact us for staffing guidance.