In OT Environments, Security Must Not Be an Afterthought

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The dream of a cloud-enabled operational technology, or OT, environment is becoming a reality thanks to daily innovations in technology, which have the potential of turning legacy control systems into integrated IIoT instances. These changes are happening at a fast pace, and are often extraordinary in scale. Large scale ICS SCADA systems, such as those found in oil and gas are evolving; however, one thing remains constant: poor security.


Why Security Is a Challenge

As IT security professionals know, security must adapt to an ever-changing threat landscape. A fluid model does not play well with most current ICS and SCADA systems. These systems depend on availability first, making the application of security measures challenging to implement and even harder to maintain. For OT operators, security must support a model that allows technicians to connect devices first to configure and fine-tune them, and then later lock them down. There must be enough security in place to protect both the business and the process control environment from attacks, but with just enough protection that it neither overcomplicates the automation groups workflows nor stops, blocks or disrupts production.

Purpose-built and expensive to update or replace, these systems and networks do not conform to the equipment lifecycle of an IT network. The majority of oil and gas field networks and remote process control networks are archaic, but also happen to be the systems we take for granted on a daily basis. Attackers know that, when and if these systems fail, they can affect our daily lives.


What’s Next?

It is time we change our beliefs on what a secure network looks like and how it should work? As organizations adopt cloud-based infrastructures and other IIoT technologies, security does not have to be an afterthought. Our Security Operating Platform secures control system networks in several ways, including automatically preventing new and unknown threats, providing virtual network segmentation and offering role-based network access.

Learn more about how to protect your controls environment against sophisticated cyberattacks by downloading our Cybersecurity for Oil and Gas Solutions Brief.

The post In OT Environments, Security Must Not Be an Afterthought appeared first on Palo Alto Networks Blog.

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About Palo Alto Networks
Palo Alto Networks is the next-generation security company maintaining trust in the digital age by helping tens of thousands of organizations worldwide prevent cyber breaches. With our deep cybersecurity expertise, commitment to innovation, and game-changing Next-Generation Security Platform, customers can confidently pursue a digital-first strategy and embark on new technology initiatives, such as cloud and mobility. This kind of thinking and know-how helps customer organizations grow their business and empower employees all while maintaining complete visibility and the control needed to protect their critical control systems and most valued data assets. Our platform was built from the ground up for breach prevention, with threat information shared across security functions system-wide, and designed to operate in increasingly mobile, modern networks. By combining network, cloud and endpoint security with advanced threat intelligence in a natively integrated security platform, we safely enable all applications and deliver highly automated, preventive protection against cyberthreats at all stages in the attack lifecycle without compromising performance. Customers benefit from superior security to what legacy or point products provide and realize a better total cost of ownership.
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