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May 7, 2024

3 Expert Tips For Building Your OT Security Strategy

In Operational Technology (OT) industries, recent years have seen a shift in focus - from physical safety to (cyber)security. This change of gears goes hand-in-hand with the ongoing digital transformation of OT, critical infrastructure, and manufacturing businesses.

OT now faces more risks than ever. With cyberattacks on the rise, OT businesses struggle to keep up and update their security and security strategies fast enough.

Let's look at three expert tips that every OT business should consider when building or updating their security strategy. 


OT Security: A Top Priority
Embrace Zero Trust Gradually
Detailed Planning is Key

OT Security: A Top Priority

Operational Technology (OT) and critical infrastructure sectors are prime targets for cyberattacks. Thus, securing OT environments is not just nice-to-have, but a critical step forward. OT security is what allows companies to advance their digital transformation while keeping their systems safe. 

A proven way to secure your OT environment, especially in the era of IT/OT convergence, is implementing the concept of Zero Trust. However, transitioning to the Zero Trust approach and effectively managing OT systems can be challenging - unless companies have the right strategies and solutions in place.  

As Rami Raulas, Interim CEO at SSH Communications Security, points out, OT cybersecurity is at the top of the risk pyramid in C-level professionals’ agendas: Cybersecurity risks have become the number one risk topic and are no longer seen just as an IT issue. It's a fundamental business operation imperative. We must think and remember that this is also a must issue with the regulation’s legislation, especially things like NIS2 - Network Information Security, the legislation in Europe - is coming into force not far from now.” 

Embrace Zero Trust Gradually

As organizations increasingly rely on OT systems to keep critical infrastructure running smoothly, the demand for strong and reliable security measures is on the rise. Identity verification, secure access management, and access closing are just a few emerging themes that form the foundation of OT security, ensuring that only authorized personnel gain access to sensitive systems.  

“We need to see who is coming and working on our devices and in our network. We have these VPNs, and they are constantly open, allowing anyone from the tunnel to come at any time and do whatever they please,” says Juha Suominen, Service Delivery Manager at Stora Enso, underlining the risk of legacy security measures, such as VPNs and firewalls, that provide too broad access without appropriate monitoring, activity logging, and auditing. 

Using the Zero Trust approach, which utilizes just-in-time (JIT) and just-enough-access (JEA) controls to grant temporary access with the right level of privilege/access to get the task at hand done, is crucial for reducing risks.

"We are now offering a platform where sites can do themselves all the work, eliminating the need for centralized oversight," highlights Juha, emphasizing the importance of a self-service model. 

Detailed Planning is Key

A general advice for OT companies is to pursue the adoption of the Zero Trust approach gradually within their infrastructure. Juha Suominen highlights examples from Stora Enso’s own site and explains that implementing the Zero Trust model in their case means that employees navigate a portal to select their tasks, reflecting a trust-nothing ethos even within the organization itself.  

While acknowledging the progress, Juha also emphasizes the importance of detailed planning for successful implementation: “My advice is to plan well; that's the key to success.” He stresses the need for careful consideration and suggests that building a secure test environment before transitioning to production could enhance effectiveness.

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Secure Your OT Operations with PrivX OT Edition

We at SSH Communications Security recognize the unique needs of critical infrastructure, manufacturing, and other OT enterprises. We understand that basic access security is not enough. That’s why we developed PrivX OT Edition, a modern full-scale access security solution for OT.

PrivX OT Edition provides integrated Zero Trust access management designed for IT/OT systems. It ensures secure access to both modern and legacy OT assets within hybrid environments. With PrivX OT Edition, you can efficiently manage access to a wide range of IT/OT targets for on-site and off-site OT operations.  

Plant-wide, global, or local access control at an industrial scale is seamlessly integrated into PrivX OT Edition, offering flexibility and scalability to meet your organization's unique requirements. 


Interested in seeing our solution in action? Book a demo here >> 


Massimo Nardone

Massimo Nardone serves as the Vice President of Operational Technology (OT) Security at SSH Communications Security Plc. He collected more than 28 years of working experience in the IT/OT/IoT cybersecurity environments in multiple cybersecurity leadership positions like CISO, Lead Architect, OT/IoT/IIoT Global...

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