Safeguarding your machines and OT networks against cyber threats is a strategy that every company must take into account. In EU countries,  the upcoming Network and Information System Directive (NIS2) establishes a minimum standard of cyber security risk and incident management for organizations that operate services deemed critical to the EU economy. NIS2 is not merely a recommendation or a regulation – it is a legally binding framework enforced across the EU, backed by administrative penalties and fines for non-compliance. 

The time is really ticking. Organizations have until October 2024 to comply with NIS2. But where to start?

In this article, we go through the challenges of securing Operational Technology (OT) environments and the key points that organizations need to consider when selecting the right solution provider.

It is widely known in the industry that securing OT environments is challenging due to legacy systems, complex configurations, and interdependencies between various components. The convergence of OT and IT networks adds further obstacles that need to be tackled. And that's only the tip of the iceberg.

The time is really ticking. Organizations have until October 2024 to comply with NIS2.
  • Legacy systems: Many OT systems have been in place for years or even decades and often run on outdated operating systems and software. These legacy systems may lack built-in security features and be vulnerable to known vulnerabilities, making them attractive targets for attackers.
  • Lack of patching and updates: Due to the critical nature of OT systems and their potential impact on operations, patching and updating these systems is often complex. Organizations may hesitate to apply updates, fearing potential disruptions or compatibility issues. This can leave vulnerabilities unpatched and increase the risk of exploitation.
  • Complexity and interdependencies: OT environments are typically complex, with various interconnected components, including sensors, controllers, and human-machine interfaces. This complexity makes it challenging to comprehensively understand the system and identify potential security gaps or vulnerabilities.
  • Limited security controls: Traditional security controls used in IT networks, such as firewalls and antivirus software, may not be suitable for OT systems. OT environments require specialized security controls designed to protect critical infrastructure, including intrusion detection and prevention systems (IDPS), anomaly detection systems, and network segmentation.
  • Operational continuity: OT systems are often designed to prioritize operational continuity and availability over security. Interrupting critical processes can have significant consequences, so organizations must balance the need for security measures with the requirement to keep operations running smoothly.
  • Insider threats: Insider threats pose a significant risk in OT environments. Malicious or negligent employees or contractors with access to OT systems can intentionally or accidentally disrupt operations, compromise security, or steal sensitive data. Proper access controls, monitoring, and user behavior analytics are essential to mitigate this risk.
  • Lack of security awareness: Many OT operators and personnel may lack extensive cybersecurity knowledge or training.  Awareness programs and training initiatives should be implemented to educate OT staff about potential risks, best practices, and how to identify and report suspicious activities.
  • Convergence with IT networks: The convergence of OT and IT networks introduces additional challenges. Connecting OT systems to IT networks can expose them to new threats and vulnerabilities. Proper network segmentation, access controls, and secure gateways should be implemented to mitigate risks associated with this convergence.

Searching for the right solution for your networks

To overcome these challenges that we just addressed, here are a few key points that you need to look after: 

  • Compatibility: Compatibility with industry-specific special connectivity needs, no restrictions for applications.
  • Independency: Minimal lock-in to service providers.
  • Privacy: There would not be requirements to process your data outside of your own network and still should provide easy connectivity to 3rd parties, cloud services, etc.
  • Connectivity: Flexible connectivity options, including fixed connections, mobile data, 4G/5G, connection redundancy, dynamic IP addresses, NAT, etc.
  • Security: Support for strong modern security technologies and enforcement of strong authentication always for remote access. Ability to enforce secure access policies.
  • Manageability: Centralized management for easy management and control.

After reading this article, are you surprised if we say the Tosibox Platform can overcome these challenges?

Tosibox is ready for the NIS2 Directive

We are certified with ISO27001 and ISO9001. In both, a lot overlaps with the NIS2 standards. ISO 27001 is the worldwide known standard on how to manage information security. It lays out requirements for establishing, implementing, maintaining, and continually improving information security management system (ISMS). ISO9001 is the international standard that specifies requirements for a quality management system (QMS). The ISO 9001 certification stands out as the essential part of Tosibox Quality Management Systems and defines the basis for Tosibox´s  High Quality Policy. 

To understand how Tosibox can help your organization comply with the NIS2 directive, we invite you to book a brief demo with our experts. 

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