Aligning cybersecurity strategies with the reality of an “everything-connected” world
As businesses increasingly embrace digital technologies, the lines between information technology (IT), operational technology (OT), the Internet of Things (IoT), and the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) get fuzzier. These once-distinct domains are converging as businesses use the potential of connected devices to boost productivity, sharpen decision-making, and improve customer experiences.
Take a manufacturing company that has historically relied on OT systems to manage and monitor its production operations. As the company embraces digital transformation, it connects those OT systems to its IT networks. Now, the company can get real-time data from its production processes and decide how to best run its business, making decisions driven by data, rather than guesswork.
But the convergence of IT and OT is not just a manufacturing phenomenon. The healthcare industry is also starting to take advantage of connected device technology. For instance, hospitals use IoT and IoMT technology to monitor patients remotely and provide real-time data to healthcare professionals. This approach enables more individualized and proactive care, lowering the possibility of problems and hospital readmissions.
Interconnectedness only opens up new challenges
The convergence of IT, OT, IoT, and IoMT also creates new challenges – as more devices are connected to networks, the potential for security breaches and other cyberthreats increases.
According to the Dragos/Ponemon Institute’s “State of Industrial Cybersecurity Report 2021,” nearly two-thirds of respondents surveyed said they had seen an OT/ICS event in the previous two years. The estimated average cybersecurity incident cost is around US$3 million.
Hackers and cybercriminals are always looking for new ways to exploit vulnerabilities and access sensitive information, and the rise of connected devices has given them a lot of new targets.
One of the main challenges in securing IT, OT, IoT and IoMT assets is that they frequently run on different networks, with different security standards. That can be challenging to manage and secure efficiently, because different teams may be in charge of different connected assets and may not have the visibility or control essential to identify and defeat potential threats.
Many IT, OT, IoT and IoMT assets are also built with functionality in mind rather than security, which makes them more open to attack. These devices may have outdated software, weak passwords, or other vulnerabilities. They may not even be capable of receiving security upgrades, making them susceptible to evolving attacks.
Organizations must establish a holistic security strategy that takes into account all of their connected assets if they want to deal with these challenges. Any such strategy entails implementing robust security policies and monitoring systems to find and defeat threats, and training employees to recognize and reduce potential risks.
One practical approach is to utilize a single centralized platform that offers visibility and control over all connected assets. These platforms can help firms identify and prioritize vulnerabilities and put in place security solutions tailored to their requirements.
Another crucial factor is ensuring that all connected assets are updated with the most recent security patches and updates. While maintaining the security and integrity of their networks might be difficult for businesses with lots of devices, it is no less necessary by virtue of its difficulty.
The answer? Forescout – an acknowledged leader in automated cybersecurity and asset intelligence. Forescout provides the only solution that delivers visibility and automation to continually manage the risk posture of all the asset types — IT, OT, IoT and IoMT — which collectively represent an organization’s digital landscape.
The Forescout Continuum platform helps firms discover and prioritize network vulnerabilities by offering visibility and control over all connected assets within the “continuum” of the company.
Forescout is the only vendor that offers continuous detection of all cyber-assets, using more than 30 active and passive approaches, including passive deep packet inspection of delicate OT/ICS and IoMT assets. Forescout Continuum also uses out-of-the-box wireless, switch, and VPN interfaces to find all assets across all locations and networks, regardless of whether they are in communication with one another.
Forescout Continuum enforces flexible mitigation measures to protect exposed, high-risk, and compromised devices, while maintaining the operational integrity of mission-critical assets. The platform also lets you simulate policies and monitor traffic flows before activating them. That means you can spot violations with unexpected network-wide effects and securely make any appropriate adjustments.
One of the best case studies demonstrating Continuum’s effectiveness is HubSpot. HubSpot is a marketing and sales software provider serving more than 100,000 customers worldwide.
With more devices than users and a diversified environment, HubSpot faced the same dilemma experienced by most dynamic, quickly-growing firms — a lack of device visibility, which can result in a wide range of security and compliance issues.
To meet these challenges, HubSpot turned to the Forescout platform. Within a day, the company had complete visibility over its network-connected endpoints and devices. It was easy to get details about the operating systems and applications in use, security posture, patching status, vulnerabilities, and more. Having proved its worth, the Forescout platform has now been integrated into all HubSpot systems worldwide.
Click here to learn more about how Forescout’s Continuum platform can help your organization address the challenges posed by the expanding threat landscape of the digital transformation era.
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