Posted by: Greg Ness | April 24, 2019

Connecting the Dots on OT/IT Convergence

Gabe is Back

In the heady days of massive network infrastructure growth there was a single analyst who knew the vendors cold.  And all of us on the Wall Street briefing circuit knew Gabe Lowy.

Gabe didn’t waste time with small talk. On the way to the conference room he would ask you a few questions, then tell you what you were about to tell him, from your product update to your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses. And you hadn’t even fired up your laptop…

And why, you ask, is reminiscing about Gabe’s insight in the early days of enterprise networking important to cyber security for converged infrastructures?

Because he’s back, but this time unencumbered. So I was naturally interested in reading his recent post: Will Catastrophic Loss Drive OT/IT Convergence?

OTIT Teamwork

In addition to pointing out the inherent problems with today’s “business as usual” mindset when it comes to physical cyber risks, Gabe offered a solution. He drew an insightful parallel between the emergence of DevOps and the much-needed convergence of OI/IT, and what happens if that doesn’t happen.

A common, blended organization tackling both makes the most sense. The alternative, which cannot be fixed by money or trained personnel, is a bigger deal than losing email and social security numbers…

April 25 Update: Another European manufacturer crippled by ransomware

And he promises more.  Gabe is well worth following.

Podcast: New Age Piracy

A chilling Unsolicited Response podcast on Marine Cybersecurity with a Master Mariner at Moran Cyber is a wake up call, and not just for the risks of ships being hijacked by hackers. At about ten minutes there is a discussion about the common control infrastructures between ships and hospitals, factories and office buildings.

In a nutshell, with converged infrastructure virtually any “smart” physical environment is hackable. I wrote a Tempered blog (The Stakes are Higher than Ever) in response to the podcast: “These systems control the physical environment. Whomever controls them controls virtually everything.”

Forbes: Are Smart And Sustainable Buildings An Unsolvable Equation?

Tempered CEO Jeff Hussey weighed in on the issue of convergence in Forbes as he also explained what motivated organizations to make their facilities smart. But there is a catch:

Despite the sizable number of positive business impacts IoT devices can have on businesses, many organizations have balked at the idea of deploying IoT devices and control systems, citing an overwhelming level of complexity and a lack of personnel with IoT training as their reasoning. The gap in IoT skills is a direct result of the information technology (IT) and operational technology (OT) convergence. Unfortunately, bridging that gap isn’t an easy equation. Simply adding IT staff to an OT team does not produce the correct answer. It’s back to complex mathematics again.

Connecting the Dots

OT/IT convergence needs to be a team sport.  Or else almost everyone loses.

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