Central vs Local OT Cybersecurity Management

   Mar 27, 2024 | Radiflow team

Central and Local (at the site) Operational Technology (OT) Cybersecurity Management refer to two different approaches to managing cybersecurity in industrial environments and critical infrastructure. These approaches have distinct characteristics and implications for managing cybersecurity and risk.

Central OT Cybersecurity Management

In the central OT cybersecurity management approach, cybersecurity operations and controls are managed from a central location, often the Security Operations Center (SOC), a Centralized Cybersecurity Management Center, or Headquarters (HQ). This approach involves consolidating cybersecurity monitoring, incident response, and policy enforcement for multiple sites or facilities across the organization.

The Pros

  • Consolidated Expertise: Centralized management allows for the concentration of cybersecurity expertise, making it easier to maintain a skilled team of professionals.
  • Uniform Policies: Consistent cybersecurity policies and practices can be enforced across all sites, ensuring a standardized level of security.
  • Efficient Resource Allocation: Resources such as security tools, personnel, and training can be shared more efficiently across multiple sites.

The Cons

  • Single Point of Failure: If the central management system is compromised, it could lead to inability to detect security breaches at remote sites.
  • Latency and Dependency: If communication between central management and remote sites is disrupted, it might impact the real-time response to threats.
  • Limited Site-Specific Adaptability: Some sites might have unique cybersecurity requirements that are not effectively addressed by centralized policies.

Local (Site) OT Cybersecurity Management

In a local or site-based OT cybersecurity management approach, each operational site or facility manages its own cybersecurity operations and controls independently. Each site is responsible for monitoring its own systems, responding to incidents, and implementing security measures.

The Pros

  • Localized Control: Site-specific cybersecurity measures can be tailored to the unique characteristics and requirements of each facility.
  • Reduced Latency: Decentralized management can result in quicker response times to local incidents, as there is no dependency on a central team.
  • Minimized Impact: A breach at one site is less likely to impact other sites, as each operates independently.

The Cons

  • Varied Expertise: The level of cybersecurity expertise may vary between sites, potentially leading to inconsistencies in security practices.
  • Resource Duplication: Each site may need to invest in separate security tools, personnel, and training, potentially leading to inefficiencies.
  • Lack of Standardization: Without centralized policies, there might be discrepancies in security approaches across different sites.

Which Is Better?

The choice between central and site OT cybersecurity management depends on various factors such as the organization’s risk tolerance, resources, industry regulations, and the level of interconnectedness between sites. Some organizations might adopt a hybrid approach, combining central management for certain aspects (like threat intelligence) with site-specific management for other aspects (like incident response). The ultimate goal is to strike a balance between effective cybersecurity measures and operational efficiency.

Radiflow Flexible Deployment – The Best of Both Worlds

With Radiflow, OT organizations can gain the advantages of both central and site cybersecurity management without the disadvantages.

Local iSIDs

Operators with multiple sites can implement one Radiflow iSID threat detection system per site, thereby gaining all the benefits of local management. For example, the local iSID will continuously monitor the site for changes to assets, network behavior, etc. Upon noticing anomalous behavior, iSID will generate and triage local alerts that local staff may address. 

Central Management of iSIDs

Designed for large enterprises and Managed Security Service Providers (MSSPs), Radiflow iCEN is a manager of multiple iSIDs. From one iCEN in the SOC or headquarters, all the iSIDs can be monitored and managed. Through a user-friendly, web-based interface, iCEN provides a unified view of site risk scores, OT assets, status, alerts, and maintenance across all the iSIDs with easy drill-down to each iSID instance.

All connectivity between iCEN and the iSIDs is secure and encrypted. If needed, iCEN can support a one-way iSID-to iCEN connection to ensure the isolation of OT environment from external threats.


Managed Security Service Providers are able to create and configure different organizations operating multiple instances of iSID, on a single iCEN system, creating a unified point for monitoring and managing all of their Radiflow-protected customers.

Local and Centralized Risk Management, Too!

CIARA is Radiflow’s data-driven Risk Management Platform. A single implementation of CIARA in the SOC or at HQ can assess risk at each site, per region, and across the entire OT estate. Via iCEN’s connections to the iSIDs, CIARA can collect relevant data from each iSID and run an accurate risk assessment for that site. iCEN can feed CIARA with data from each iSID enabling CIARA to arrive at site, regional, and organization-wide evaluations. CIARA can calculate the efficacy of mitigations per site or across the entire estate to minimize risk while optimizing the security budget.  

For more information on Radiflow OT Security and Risk Management solutions, contact us.

Central vs Local OT Cybersecurity Management

Enjoy the best of central and local OT cybersecurity and risk management with Radiflow’s flexible deployment

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