OT cyber threat detection monitoring is the analysis of all activity within operational technology systems, and identification of activity that looks suspicious or holds potential to cause damage.
Cyber threats addressed by a comprehensive OT cyber threat detection monitoring solution include unauthorized access, unusual resource use and configuration changes in systems and devices.
How is OT cyber threat detection monitoring critical for your OT security?
With the growing IT/OT integration, threats to your OT security are no longer restricted to physical attack vectors, but instead include the full gamut of cyber attack vectors. Malicious actors can gain access to your OT systems remotely, and have a farther reach within your systems due to increased networking and connectedness.
With this increased risk potential, smart and responsible industrial facility managers must up their security game. To protect themselves from monetary loss, reputation harm and negative impact on their consumers’ safety and lives, they must be on alert for hints of threats, and able to evaluate and address them before damage is caused.
Insecure OT can have negative repercussions for business success as well. With growing awareness of IT/OT threats, many organizations will only want to partner or do business with a facility they can trust as secure. Governments encourage (and sometimes require) industrial partners or suppliers to use OT cyber security monitoring technologies. Highlighted criteria for such threat detection technologies include explicit design for ICS technology, analytical capabilities, strong data security protocols and the ability to anonymize and share data which can be used to improve OT security for everyone.
What is important to look for in an OT cyber security monitoring tool?
The following criteria should be met when evaluating an OT cyber security monitoring tool:
Works without interfering with your OT system function – if your OT security monitoring tool disrupts your system activities and impedes data flow, its security benefits may not outweigh its operational detriments. An ideal OT cyber security tool will conduct non-intrusive analysis, often through creating and working with a mirrored network traffic stream, without the need to touch the actual data stream. This is also important so that the monitoring technology itself cannot be used as a vector through which to attack your OT systems.
Automated learning of your system norms and baselines – the need to manually set your OT monitoring tool thresholds is a big human resource drain. In addition, manual policy setting in a fluctuating industrial ecosystem contributes to outdated information, leading to both false negatives and false positives from your OT monitoring tools. A strong OT network monitoring tool will be powered by machine-learning capabilities, able to generate both a baseline topology and historical trend baselines for system activity. Manual review and adjustment should always be an option, but it should supplement the automated learning and conclusions.
Detects both vulnerabilities and threats – when it comes to cyber security (or any security, for that matter), an ounce of prevention is worth many pounds of picking up the pieces after an attack. A comprehensive OT cyber security monitoring system will identify both attack vectors relevant to your systems, such as device or network misconfigurations or access and trust vulnerabilities, as well as hints to materializing threats, such as suspicious network traffic, use of resources or configuration changes. If your OT cyber threat detection monitoring tool only detects information that would point to attacks in progress, make sure that it is complemented by other OT security tools that deal with assessing, identifying and remediating vulnerabilities.