Critical infrastructure and industrial environments are maintained by operational technology (OT). Industrial control systems (ICS) systems, devices, and processes in your OT environment are managed, secured, and controlled by OT software and hardware. Manufacturing, transportation, oil and gas, electricity and utilities, and other similar industries frequently employ OT devices.
OT devices are gadgets utilized in modern conditions as well as inside basic frameworks. OT devices, for instance, may be utilized in the pharmaceutical or automobile manufacturing industries, as well as in other industrial settings like oil production.
- Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) devices, also known as Industry 4.0
- Internet of Things (IoT) devices
- Supervisory Control and data acquisition system (SCADA)
- Human Machine interfaces (HMIs)
- Distributed control systems (DCS)
- Industrial control systems (ICS)
- Remote terminal units (RTUs)
- Programmable logic controllers (PLCs)
Distributed control systems (DCS) or programmable logic controllers (PLCs) typically manage OT devices. The majority of OT devices were safeguarded by air-gapping or physically isolating the device from external networks, for more than seven decades. By not interfacing these gadgets with outside organizations, the objective was to protect them from outer dangers.
That was effective for decades, but increasingly, IT and OT are combining in industrial settings. This indicates that new dangers exist and that air gapping is no longer effective. Operational technology security that can simultaneously safeguard IT and OT is essential in today’s industrial and critical infrastructure environments.
The procedures your company uses to safeguard all of the hardware, software, and devices that make up your OT infrastructure make up operational technology security. All of the steps you take to protect these devices from internal and external attacks as well as other cyber risks are included in OT security.
From the early days of OT devices in the 1960s to the present day, most of them were closed systems, which meant that they were not connected to the network and didn’t talk to other devices that were connected to it. Because the devices were physically separated from the unsecured networks, this is known as air-gapping. For many decades, that was the primary method of OT security.
However, even in operations without OT devices, it is becoming increasingly difficult to maintain truly sterile OT environments as an increasing number of them come online. Even in facilities where convergence is not a strategic priority, there is a possibility that OT devices will accidentally connect with online devices. In industrial settings, IT and OT are becoming increasingly converged, whether intentionally or unintentionally. This indicates that air gaps no longer provide sufficient OT security.
Operational security needs to be more comprehensive in today’s OT environments. If you only use network monitoring to find security flaws or other issues in industrial control systems, for instance, you probably won’t see more than half of the converged IT-OT attack surface. And the longer it takes for a malicious individual to be present in your environment before you are aware that they are there, the less frequently you check those devices for issues.
The present OT security ought to incorporate consistent, inactive, and dynamic observing, IT/OT danger identification, point-by-point resource stock, arrangement control, and chance-based weakness of the executives. These measures, when used together, enable you to monitor cyber risks in your OT environment without interfering with day-to-day operations.
We are presenting examples of operational technology in 2023 to the list while keeping this scenario in mind.
The term “public infrastructure” refers to any piece of infrastructure that belongs to the general public or is made available for their use. It is discernable from the conventional or confidential frameworks about strategy, funding, reason, and so on.
Public infrastructure is a broad term that is frequently defined as:
· Infrastructure-based development
· Wastewater infrastructure- treatment and disposal of wastewater
· Sustainable urban infrastructure- policy, architecture, and technology for sustainable living
· Solid waste- management, collection, and generation of trash
· Public works- agencies, maintenance functions, and municipal infrastructure
· Public capital – state-owned assets
· Communication and information infrastructure- information storage systems and distribution
· Hazardous waste- handling, disposal, and characteristics of hazardous waste
· Energy infrastructure- storage and transmission of renewable resources and fossil fuels
· Critical Infrastructure- assets needed to sustain human life
· Transport Infrastructure- cable, rail, road, vehicle, and financing of transport
The operational technology permits the operators to regulate the flow of water via a canal or aqueduct.
The deliberate movement of people, animals, and goods from one location to another is known as transport. Air, land (rail and road), water, cable, pipeline, and space are all modes of transportation. Infrastructure, vehicles, and operations make up the field. Human commerce, which is necessary for the development of civilizations, is made possible by transportation.
Both fixed installations, such as roads, railways, airways, waterways, canals, and pipelines, and terminals, such as airports, bus stations, warehouses, trucking terminals, refueling depots (including fueling docks and fuel stations), and seaports, make up the transportation infrastructure. Terminals can be used for both passenger and cargo movement as well as maintenance.
Transport method is any of the various types of transport offices used to convey individuals or freight. They might incorporate vehicles, riding creatures, and pack creatures. Vehicles might incorporate carts, autos, bikes, transports, trains, trucks, helicopters, watercraft, shuttles, and airplanes.
Operational technology allows forming of a system for remotely controlling and monitoring a refrigerator car while it is on a train.
It is possible to define a city as a permanent, densely settled place with administratively defined boundaries whose members primarily work on non-agricultural tasks. Cities typically have extensive systems for housing, transportation, sanitation, utilities, land use, product production, and communication. Their thickness works with collaboration between individuals, government associations, and organizations, now and again helping various gatherings all the while, further developing proficiency of products and administration dissemination. Operational technology enables a city to manage a system of charging electric cars.
It is an essential source of renewable energy, and its technologies are broadly classified as either passive solar or active solar depending on how they capture and distribute solar energy or convert it into solar power. Solar energy is the radiant light and heat that comes from the Sun and is harnessed using a variety of technologies like solar power to generate electricity, solar thermal energy (including solar water heating), and solar architecture. Utilizing photovoltaic systems, concentrated solar power, and solar water heating are examples of active solar techniques for harnessing energy. Detached sun-powered procedures incorporate situating a structure to the Sun, choosing materials with good warm mass or light-scattering properties, and planning spaces that normally course air.
Operational technology makes a system that allows solar panels to be distantly optimized incorporating functions like cleaning.
Also read: Cyber Security With Operational Technology Environments
The creation or production of goods through the use of machinery, tools, equipment, labor, and chemical or biological processing or formulation is known as manufacturing. It is the core of the economy’s secondary sector. The term can be used to describe any human activity, from handicrafts to high-tech, but it is most commonly used to describe the industrial design, which is the process of turning raw materials from the primary sector into large-scale finished goods. These products may be distributed to end users and consumers via the tertiary industry (typically through wholesalers, who in turn sell to retailers, who in turn sell them to individual customers) or sold to other manufacturers for the production of other more complex products (such as aircraft, household appliances, furniture, sports equipment, or automobiles).
The engineering discipline known as manufacturing engineering focuses on the design and optimization of the manufacturing process—the steps by which raw materials are transformed into a finished product. The product design and material specifications are the first steps in the manufacturing procedure. These materials are then changed through assembling to turn into the ideal item.
All intermediate processes involved in the production and integration of a product’s components are included in modern manufacturing. Instead, the term “fabrication” is utilized in some sectors, such as the manufacturing of steel and semiconductors.
The engineering and industrial design sectors are intertwined with the manufacturing sector. Operational technology allows equipment control on a product line such as robots incorporated to assemble portions.