OT cybersecurity is at increased risk because our systems are no longer isolated.

Why your Operational Technology is no longer isolated: Update your OT Cybersecurity Strategy

October 17, 2023

The world of industrial automation has undergone a significant transformation in recent years. Once isolated from the digital realm, Operational Technology (OT) systems are now increasingly interconnected, offering numerous benefits in terms of efficiency and productivity. However, this convergence with Information Technology (IT) has also opened up new avenues for cyber threats. In this article, we will explore why your OT cybersecurity is at risk, no longer isolated, and vulnerable to cyber attacks.

The Convergence of IT and OT


Traditionally, OT systems, which include industrial control systems (ICS) and Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) systems, have operated in isolation from corporate IT networks. They were designed with a focus on stability and reliability rather than cybersecurity. However, the recent use of automation and the Internet of Things (IoT) has driven the integration of IT and OT. This convergence offers benefits such as real-time data exchange, remote monitoring and maintenance, and improved decision-making processes. 

“Such a convergence does, to be sure, pose significant execution challenges. But an electronics company’s experience shows that for organizations that are ahead in this transition, the incremental value can add up to more than $100 million.” 


Reasons for the Convergence


The reasons behind the convergence of IT and OT are multifaceted, each contributing to the growing shift in how organizations approach their operational technology. 

  1. Improved Efficiency: The integration of IT and OT enables organizations to optimize processes, reduce downtime, and enhance overall operational efficiency.
  2. Data Analytics: Real-time data from OT systems can be analyzed to gain valuable insights, leading to data-driven decision-making.
  3. Remote Monitoring: OT systems can be managed and monitored remotely, reducing the need for physical presence on-site.
  4. Cost Reduction: Remote monitoring and management of OT systems can reduce operational costs. Fewer on-site visits and quicker issue resolution lead to savings in time and resources.


Challenges in the Convergence

As OT systems become more connected, they also become more vulnerable to cyberattacks. Here are some of the key challenges:

  1. Legacy Systems: Many OT systems still rely on outdated technology, making them more susceptible to vulnerabilities.
  2. Lack of Cybersecurity Awareness: OT professionals may not be adequately trained to recognize and respond to cyber threats.
  3. Blurring Boundaries: The interconnected nature of IT and OT means that a breach in one system can potentially affect the other.


Protecting Your OT from Cyber Threats

With a growing focus on OT systems, threat actors are fine-tuning their attacks to target industrial control systems (ICS) and supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) devices. Recent data reveals a concerning trend: reported vulnerabilities in ICS/OT systems increased by 27% in 2022. Moreover, reports indicate a substantial 87% rise in ransomware attacks against industrial organizations from 2021 to 2022. 

This alarming surge underscores the immediate and critical need for organizations to bolster their OT security measures. Yet, the path to achieving this level of security is far from straightforward.

“Nearly every IT network becomes an IT-OT network, the stakes are even higher. This means that if you’ve been putting off redesigning your security systems, now is the time to make it a priority.”



The convergence of IT and OT has ushered in a new era of industrial automation, offering significant benefits to organizations. However, it has also exposed OT systems to the growing threat of cyberattacks. To protect your OT infrastructure, it is crucial to adapt to this changing landscape and implement strong OT cybersecurity measures. This convergence represents a pivotal shift that empowers organizations to adapt to the demands of the modern business landscape, improve operational agility, and remain competitive in a rapidly evolving digital world.

Discover how the cybersecurity ecosystem created between Kterio and eSentire can help you protect your portfolio against cyber threats.