Driving Forces Behind Growing Investment in OT Cybersecurity
In the face of challenging global economic conditions, the investment in Operational Technology (OT) cybersecurity has demonstrated resilience, experiencing continual growth. This upward trajectory is fueled by three key drivers: digital transformation, evolving regulatory landscapes, and an increased focus on risk management. This article explores each of these drivers and their implications for the future of cybersecurity in the operational technology realm.
Digital Transformation’s Influence on OT Cybersecurity:
The digital transformation of industrial operations has become a significant catalyst for increased OT cybersecurity investment. The rising interconnectivity among OT devices, systems, and processes has led to a surge in demand for advanced technologies such as cloud computing, data analytics, digital twins, and machine learning. The convergence of Information Technology (IT) and OT has further accelerated this transformation, enabling seamless integration and data exchange between previously isolated environments. However, with the benefits of digital transformation come heightened exposure to vulnerabilities in both IT and OT, necessitating the development of robust cybersecurity policies, processes, and procedures to ensure the resilience of future operating models.
Regulatory Landscape Driving Procurement Decisions :
Regulatory Landscape Driving Procurement Decisions: Regulatory influences play a crucial role in shaping OT cybersecurity investment decisions. Strengthening enforcement efforts and expanding regulations to cover additional industry sectors and supply chains have become prevalent trends. Examples in the United States, such as the CIA’s Binding Operational Directive 23-01 and the Transportation Authority’s Directive AD 1580/82-2022-01, enforceable since 2023, illustrate the evolving regulatory environment. Additionally, the NIST Cybersecurity Framework and the Critical Infrastructure Protection (CIP) standards contribute to a growing requirement for higher levels of resilience. Similar regulatory trends are observed globally, with Australia, India, Japan, and Canada either launching new regulations or reviewing existing ones.
Executive Awareness and Ransomware Incidents:
Heightened executive awareness of OT risks, particularly in the wake of widely reported ransomware incidents affecting industry peers, constitutes another driving force behind increased investment in OT cybersecurity. Research from Orange Cyberdefense reveals that the manufacturing sector, being the most attacked industry in 2022, faces significant cybersecurity challenges due to its size and attractiveness to attackers. Notably, 58% of incidents result from internal errors and misconfigurations, underscoring the need for asset owners to not only defend against external threats but also closely monitor internal processes.
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