Convergence of physical, digital systems will increase risk of attacks: Fortinet

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When operational technology (OT) and information technology (IT) come together, newer and larger security risks will emerge and organizations must be prepared to protect their assets, according to cybersecurity firm Fortinet.  

Fortinet OT Secure 2020

With smart buildings as a prime example, the risk comes in cyberattacks targeting the increased number of vulnerable endpoints. The risk exposure is further worsened when security measures are not readily built-in to the smart building point solutions.

The key findings from an IDC InfoBrief sponsored by Fortinet revealed that the connected asset created by smart building technology introduces a new attack vector that needs to be secured. The growing convergence between OT and IT must also be complemented with physical and digital security that is managed by security professionals.

Fortinet’s solution to this dilemma is through integrating OT security solutions with corporate IT protection that extends to data centers, network perimeter, and the cloud itself. In this manner, the company is able to minimize complexity for its customers and at the same time reducing the operating expense of managing OT security.   

“In IT, the priorities are about data and the highest priority being data integrity followed by confidentiality, and finally, availability. In OT, we’re talking about physical things, real stuff. Data is important, but the priorities are completely reversed there,” shared Joe Sarno, Fortinet head of OT.

Fortinet’s solution integrates OT security solutions with best-of-breed threat protection for corporate IT environments that extend from the data center, to the cloud, to the network perimeter. It also provides visibility, control, and automated at speed analytics detection within the OT environment while provisioning built-in support for industry standards. Additionally, it minimizes complexity and reduces the operating expense (OpEx) of OT security management, when compared to point security solutions in siloed IT and OT environments.

In the area of production in the industrial zone, Fortinet offers camera surveillance network and IoT products like FortiSwitch, FortiAP, FortiPresence, and FortiCamera. To protect the said convergence, especially when OT systems share data with IT systems, site operations with centralized control and monitoring are deployed with the FortiGate firewall.

“We are seeing this massive convergence between IT and OT networks. In OT, the threats are very real. They have huge impacts on the business and on the critical infrastructures,” Sarno said.

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