OT vs IT blog

OT vs IT Cybersecurity: Understanding Technology Differences

How do cybersecurity needs differ for OT vs IT? Operational technology (OT) and information technology (IT) may seem similar from an outside perspective, but knowing the difference is important as it’s vital that ICS infrastructure is properly overseen.

That’s why the team at SynSaber has put together this general resource for understanding the differences between OT vs IT cybersecurity.

OT vs IT: What’s the Difference?

Before getting into cybersecurity, it’s important to understand the difference between these two systems. Particularly with the rise of the Internet of Things (IoT) in nearly every facet of our lives – from personal smart devices, to shared networks – what does and doesn’t fall under IT can seem somewhat unclear. After all, when even our toasters might be internet-connected, it can be hard to separate digital tools and functions from physical ones. So what is the difference between OT and IT?

Information Technology deals primarily with data, overseeing and managing the flow of digital information through either industrial systems, businesses, universities, or other networks.

Operational technology is the hardware and software that controls or monitors industrial equipment, assets, or processes.

Most often, OT tends to be the tech for your mechanical processes in electric utilities, oil & gas architectures, and advanced mechanical architecture. Essentially, OT processes generate energy or physical products, thereby producing the data which IT oversees and manages.

The Difference Between OT and IT Cybersecurity

Those who have worked closely with ICS know that traditional IT departments aren’t always proficient at managing large-scale ICS networks. As recent ransomware attacks on critical infrastructure have shown, the responsibility for monitoring and safeguarding these complex, largely-mechanical systems requires different tools and information-gathering processes and resources.

IT departments and security operations professionals are adept at protecting digital networks from digital vulnerabilities, but OT systems require different procedures to assess, prevent, or address threats of ransomware, exfiltration, or other OT network vulnerabilities.

What Does OT Cybersecurity Look Like?

The challenges of largely-mechanical and legacy infrastructures require specialized products and services to provide real OT cybersecurity. OT cybersecurity should include sensors that easily monitor mechanical processes, whether that machinery is five years old or forty. It needs to ensure systems and processes are working as they’re supposed to, without any outside interference or infiltration. Traditional IT virus protection software won’t cut it for OT cybersecurity.

For that reason, many solutions aren’t providing OT with the security and visibility they truly need. Regardless of the size, age, or complexity of the ICS environment, the best OT cybersecurity services should provide:

  • Scalability and flexibility
  • Easy implementation
  • Future-proof solutions
  • End-to-end visibility

OT Cybersecurity With SynSaber

At SynSaber, our OT cybersecurity provides the visibility that an ICS environment needs. SynSaber’s OT software components remain scalable and flexible, which is perfectly suited for energy, utilities, and manufacturing environments of all sizes and requirements.

Our software sensors detect, collect, and securely transmit information regarding OT processes to your operators and analysts. And SynSaber’s small footprint means proper and complete integration without disruption.

With SynSaber, operators can quickly and easily monitor for and identify any unauthorized activity, connections, devices, and software inside the networked environment – keeping their systems safe.

Future-Proof Protection, Available Today

When protecting your major critical infrastructure assets from threats of ransomware, exfiltration, or other vulnerabilities, it’s important that you have the appropriate cybersecurity system. With OT protection like SynSaber, your operators and analysts will have the tools needed to provide top-of-the-line cybersecurity to your ICS environment.

SynSaber’s low-hardware, out-of-the-box system ensures your operators are giving unparalleled protection to the systems they’re maintaining. Reach out to us or request a demo to see how SynSaber can protect your OT systems today.