The convergence of Operational Technology (OT) with Information Technology (IT), has exposed many challenges for the industrial space, including increased vulnerability to cyber attacks and network blindspots.
As critical infrastructure and industrial companies invest in digital transformation to improve operational efficiency, cyber risks have significantly increased leading to unscheduled downtime, negative corporate brand perception, as well as data and safety concerns.
“Visibility is critical for managing OT/ICS systems. According to survey respondents, increased visibility into control system cyber assets and configurations is the top initiative organizations are budgeting for in the next 18 months.”
-SANS State of OT/ICS Cybersecurity Survey
Securing and monitoring your network is the ultimate goal. But OT teams face complex challenges when it comes to architecting visibility and connectivity throughout these large and sometimes aging infrastructure that weren’t initially designed with network security in mind.
ICS/OT Visibility challenges include:
- Relying on legacy switch SPAN ports for visibility, that aren’t secure, reliable or available
- Face different media or speed connections between the network and various tools
- Network sprawl with a need for traffic aggregation and reduced network complexity
- Require unidirectional connectivity between segments or facilities
Industrial Ethernet environments are innately different than many of today's high speed data center environments. Ethernet's simple and effective design combined with the relatively low cost of Ethernet hardware, have made it an attractive network design in industrial networks. In Industrial and Manufacturing environments, change is considered disruption to the floor. Most industrial networks are still running at either 10M or 100M with 100BaseFX or 100BaseTX cabling. In addition to running at these lower speeds, Industrial Ethernet environments often run on older equipment, with many computers often found on the manufacturing floor still operating on Windows 95.
The main reason that Industrial Ethernet environments are different than data center or enterprise environments is that the environment plays a major role in the types of cabling that you can install in your network. Effectively, the cable and all other network components must be compatible with the environment.
Deploying network TAPs throughout the Industrial Ethernet framework ensures complete packet visibility for security solutions, improving uptime and eliminating the packet delivery issues that SPAN/Mirror ports inevitably introduce. Garland Technology has an assortment of industrial based network TAPs, including extreme environment TAPs, media conversion TAPs, traffic aggregator TAPs and Data Diode TAPs. As well as DIN rail mounting, DC-DC power converters, screw power lock connectors — all to provide extra assurance to overcome the visibility and environmental challenges you may face.
Visibility Best Practices
Industrial environments face many challenges. Let's explore visibility use cases to help solve these:
Creating a foundation of visibility in an Industrial environment is just as important as in IT. Once deployed, network TAPs allow you to access that point in your network at any time. Many organizations have adopted the stance of tapping all critical links for easy access during troubleshooting or inevitable security breaches.
Industrial Visibility Resources
ICS Visibility Guide: Utilities
This guide is designed for ICS engineers to navigate network visibility options, best practices and use cases for deployments and upgrades.
Defending Industrial Ethernet
This white paper dives deeper into the challenges that come with the convergence of OT and IT, and how to provide proper visibility.
Protect OT Network Perimeter Integrity
This whitepaper is designed for ICS engineers to navigate unidirectional data diode traffic options, best practices and use cases, and deployments.
Additional White papers
TAP into Technology
Leading the way in Network Technology
Traditionally, operational technology (OT) networks were architected almost entirely separate from information technology (IT) networks. As digital..
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High-profile incidents such as the SolarWinds supply chain attack that affected multiple U.S. government agencies, the attempted manipulation of..