Improve Asset Visibility in OT Security With Hybrid AI-Cloud Approaches

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Adopting operational technology (OT) cloud solutions has presented organizations with new challenges and opportunities to protect their assets effectively. And with the rise in cyber-attacks on OT infrastructure, it has become evident that OT assets require robust protection similar to their IT counterparts.

However, the complexity of OT security, coupled with the lack of visibility into connected devices, has hindered organizations’ abilities to mitigate threats effectively.

OT Cloud and Security Issues

Cloud innovations are everywhere now. And hitherto exclusively physical infrastructure systems now have cloud integrations that enable seamless interactions across the ecosystem. And this cuts across all areas of OT use.

Even when it comes to customer service, which operational industries cannot avoid, a cloud contact center, for instance, offers better security that’s integrated across the ecosystem compared to on-premises solutions. Across OTs, how have the attendant risks been managed, though?

In fact, the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated the risk of attacks on OT, and the spate has not reduced since. In particular, many organizations are only warming up to the fact that OT assets need as much, if not more protection than IT systems.

Yet, if the past few years of rising attacks have taught us anything, the stakes of a breach in OT cybersecurity are much higher and more disruptive than an IT incident. So, with the cybersecurity measures for OT systems still in the early stages, the challenges are compounded.

According to Mckinsey, these challenges manifest on multiple fronts, including technical, operational, and investment management.

OT Security Complexity

According to an OT cybersecurity report, 72% of organizations surveyed claimed to experience some form of cybersecurity complexity, which hampers their effectiveness at mitigating threats.

And the most common type of OT incident reported occurs through phishing emails, a simple attack that has significantly disrupted critical infrastructure.

Part of what enhances the complexity of OT security is that there are too many connected devices that need ongoing protection.

The attack points are expanded to outrageous levels, and malicious actors can easily find a loophole if the organization has a blind spot when it comes to visibility on all devices connected to the infrastructure.

In manufacturing, where OT features the most, one of the experts’ top concerns is that no single tool or sensor can provide 100% visibility into all devices and threats.

Also, according to a cybersecurity report by Fortinet, only 13% of organizations have achieved centralized visibility of all their OT activities. It is surely no surprise then that 93% of organizations had experienced an intrusion in the past year, while 78% experienced three or more intrusions.

Implementing AI-Cloud Solutions in OT Security

According to BlackBerry, the top five areas to consider when trying to implement AI security solutions in OT environments include the following:

  • Zero-day attack detection: Ensure your AI-enabled cybersecurity solution can leverage advanced algorithms and machine learning techniques to analyze network traffic, system behavior, and patterns to identify potential threats in real time without human intervention.
  • Performance impact: Inquire about the solution’ssolution’s performance benchmarks and any potential impact on latency, throughput or response times. It should be designed and optimized to operate seamlessly within an OT environment, ensuring minimal disruption to ongoing operations.
  • Deployment model: Choose a vendor that offers multiple deployment models; this enables future-proofing and seamless integration with existing and evolving IT infrastructure without significant system overhauls.
  • Legacy operating systems: In OT environments, legacy systems and devices are often present due to long lifecycles and compatibility issues. It’sIt’s crucial to verify that the cybersecurity solution supports a wide range of legacy operating systems commonly found in the OT environment.
  • Ongoing maintenance: Traditional signature-based security solutions often rely on regular updates to maintain their effectiveness against emerging threats. However, frequent updates can potentially disrupt production environments, especially in OT settings where system stability and continuity are critical. Ideally, AI integration should enable the solution to adapt and learn from the environment, enhancing threat detection accuracy without disrupting production systems.


AI-enabled cybersecurity solutions leverage advanced algorithms and ML techniques to detect zero-day attacks in real time. By automating the entire process, your organization stays ahead of evolving threats and safeguards its OT assets effectively. And this capability is essential as cyber-criminals increasingly employ AI to make their attacks more elusive.

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