Newsweek Vantage recently published an independent report on cyber risks to critical infrastructure—and the International Society of Automation (ISA) served as its expert partner.
Titled “Weathering the Perfect Storm: Securing the Cyber-Physical Systems of Critical Infrastructure,” the report surveyed 415 executives at critical infrastructure organizations to learn whether they are taking a holistic approach to security for operations technology (OT) and information technology (IT). Among other takeaways, the survey found that a holistic approach is a priority for most—and that more than a third of respondents said a cyber breach was the motivating factor.
Other key findings from the report include:
- IT and OT still don’t play well together at many organizations, despite years of effort. Nearly a third of respondents said the primary obstacle is cultural—in other words, that employees are resistant to change.
- Nearly every executive surveyed said their organization had experienced a security breach within the last year. Almost two-thirds said IT systems were the source of vulnerability leading to at least one of their incidents. A third also attributed their vulnerability to a lack of IT/OT integration, and a quarter added that a lack of secure physical access controls contributed to system vulnerabilities as well.
- Most organizations are at least partway along the path to IT/OT convergence. 68 percent of respondents said their organizations have integrated some of their OT, IT, and physical systems, and are still working on others. Far fewer—20 percent—have already integrated everything, and fewer still—only 11 percent—have not integrated anything.
ISA helped the Newsweek staff develop the concept, research the topic, create and adapt the survey, and analyze the results.
Eric Cosman, a consulting engineer and the 2020 ISA president, as well as Steve Mustard, an independent consultant and the incoming 2021 ISA president, contributed to the report as subject-matter experts.
The full report is available for download from Newsweek Vantage.