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What Is the Difference Between IT and OT Security?

Information Technology (IT) is defined as hardware, software, and communications technologies that focus on the storage, recovery, transmission, manipulation, and protection of data. Operations Technology (OT) is defined as hardware and software that detects or causes a change through the direct monitoring and control of physical devices, processes, and events.

IT systems are historically used to manage complex data and information flow, but today’s OT environments are leveraging them to manage complex physical processes. As a result, industries are safer, more efficient, and more reliable than ever beforebut these technologies bring more security risks to facilities and operations.

Attempts to disrupt operations, steal intellectual property, and affect the quality or safety of production are steadily increasing as more cyberattacks target critical infrastructure and industrial assets. Threat actors are using IT techniques to access OT systems, and they’re using OT systems that are poorly defended to get access to corporate IT networks. In many ways, cyber criminals are taking advantage of the disconnects and, in some cases, the distrust between OT and IT teams.

Today’s interconnected world means that IT and OT can no longer consider security separately. This new dynamic has resulted in unfamiliar challenges for both areas, but a systematic and purposeful commitment to integration will ultimately reduce risks.

The International Society of Automation (ISA), the globally trusted provider of technical resources for the industrial automation profession, recently published a whitepaper that establishes why the integration of IT and OT teams is essential to enterprise security. Titled "Information Technology and Operations Technology: Beyond Convergence," the whitepaper dives into the toughest challenges of interconnectivity, number one being security.

Help your organization understand why IT and OT security integration should be an organization-wide priority. You can request a free copy of the whitepaper here to download and share with your team.

Learn more about the link between unified IT/OT teams and a strong stance on cybersecurity. Download a copy of ISA's latest whitepaper, "Information Technology and Operations Technology: Beyond Convergence," by filling out this form.

Jennifer Infantino Halsey
Jennifer Infantino Halsey
Jennifer Infantino Halsey is the director of marketing and communications for ISA.

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