GigaOm Radar for Operational Technology (OT) Securityv1.02

Table of Contents

  1. Summary
  2. Market Categories and Deployment Types
  3. Key Criteria Comparison
  4. GigaOm Radar
  5. Vendor Insights
  6. Analyst’s Take
  7. About Chris Ray

1. Summary

The unification of operational technology (OT) and information technology (IT) brings a range of benefits to sophisticated technology systems in industries such as manufacturing, logistics, energy and utilities, automotive, healthcare, and agriculture. However, this convergence also poses a challenge, as it increases the complexity of the network with its large number of connected devices, sensors, measuring stations, robots, and plants that use mostly proprietary programs and protocols.

Such an environment is more difficult to secure and is vulnerable to cyberattacks, which can lead to the theft or manipulation of sensitive data. OT devices are seldom powered off, which amplifies risk, as any disruption in software, data, or communication channels can cause production shutdowns, leading to significant economic losses as well as damage to company reputation. Attacks on critical infrastructure like energy and water supply systems pose a threat to public safety. Fortunately, operational technology security solutions have emerged to provide protection for OT infrastructures.

Before diving into the focus of this report, let’s take a minute to review the differences between OT equipment and internet of things (IoT) equipment. Both involve connected physical devices that are embedded with electronics, software, sensors, and network connectivity, enabling them to exchange data. Today’s homes may include many IoT devices, such as doorbells, refrigerators, coffee machines, and other home appliances. In contrast, OT devices include industrial control systems, precision sensors, environmental controls responsible for human safety, and so forth. In a nutshell, IoT can be thought of as the consumer side of the house, while OT is its industrial or more robust counterpart. This report will focus on technologies and services that secure OT equipment.

Although IT and OT security have been around for nearly the same amount of time, IT security benefited from receiving the lion’s share of attention from organizations and vendors up until the early 2000s. For this reason, many IT security solutions were used as a basis for retrofitting into the OT arena. This was met with limited success, as the elements that define the OT environment make it significantly different from the IT arena.

OT security solutions should be selected and implemented as an additional and preferably transparent layer to mitigate the potential risks posed by cyberattacks. There are three main attack vectors to consider: the visibility of OT and IoT devices and assets on the internet, remote access for remote maintenance, and the privileges of users and devices. Effective security solutions need to address each of these areas to ensure adequate protection.

This GigaOm Radar report highlights key OT security vendors and equips IT decision-makers with the information needed to select the best fit for their business and use case requirements. In the corresponding GigaOm report, “Key Criteria for Evaluating OT Security Solutions,” we describe in more detail the key features and metrics that are used to evaluate vendors in this market.

How to Read this Report

This GigaOm report is one of a series of documents that helps IT organizations assess competing solutions in the context of well-defined features and criteria. For a fuller understanding, consider reviewing the following reports:

Key Criteria report: A detailed market sector analysis that assesses the impact that key product features and criteria have on top-line solution characteristics—such as scalability, performance, and TCO—that drive purchase decisions.

GigaOm Radar report: A forward-looking analysis that plots the relative value and progression of vendor solutions along multiple axes based on strategy and execution. The Radar report includes a breakdown of each vendor’s offering in the sector.

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