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Bridging the IT/OT Gap

In a December article in Control,  Scott McCausland, PDA digitalization services manager discussed the need for cybersecurity on the plant-floor and how it really catalyzed when data acquisition (DAQ) devices and historians began to evolve.

Similar to most cybersecurity efforts, PDA deploys defense-in-depth layers that make users secure enough based on their individual needs but still give them easy access to their data. Steps to implement these layers include:

  • Understand a client’s present and cybersecurity architecture;

  • Identify a networking program that can enable growth and continuous improvement; and

  • Propose a network architecture with stronger cybersecurity that uses zones, conduits, firewalls, and DMZs to provide isolation from business levels and the outside world, but still be able to reach them as needed.

To implement these and other modern cybersecurity tools, McCausland explained the most important element is co-educating IT and OT personnel, so they can “play in the same sandbox” because more clients are requiring the two sides to cooperate.

McCausland shared that this new bridging role will help many clients “operationalize” cybersecurity and other IT functions by moving them from larger, one-time capital expenditures (CapEx) to ongoing, smaller operational expenditures (OpEx). “These manufacturing IT people can give OT more data about what’s happening at the IT level, such as how to handle new patches coming in, or when a vendor has been flagged for some issue. This role can also give IT more information about what’s happening on the plant-floor to maintain uptime and aid continuous improvement. Consequently, they can also improve cybersecurity by opening and maintaining communications among all these parties.”

To read the full article from Control click here!

Posted In: News