Fortinet Global Survey Uncovers Critical OT Security Challenges
John Maddison, EVP of Products and CMO at Fortinet
“This year’s global State of OT and Cybersecurity Report demonstrates that while OT security has the attention of organizational leaders, critical security gaps remain. PLCs designed without security, continued intrusions, a lack of centralized visibility across OT activities, and growing connectivity to OT are some of the critical challenges these organizations need to address. Security converged into the OT networking infrastructure, including switches and access points and firewalls, is essential to segment the environment. This combined with a platform that spans OT, converged OT/IT and IT provides end-to-end visibility and control.”
Fortinet® (NASDAQ: FTNT), a global leader in broad, integrated, and automated cybersecurity solutions, today released its global 2022 State of Operational Technology and Cybersecurity Report. While industrial control environments continue to be a target for cyber criminals – with 93% of Operational Technology (OT) organizations experiencing an intrusion in the past 12 months – the report uncovered widespread gaps in industrial security and indicated opportunities for improvements. Key findings of the report include:
- OT activities lack centralized visibility, increasing security risks. The Fortinet report found that only 13% of respondents have achieved centralized visibility of all OT activities. Additionally, only 52% of organizations are able to track all OT activities from the security operations center (SOC). At the same time, 97% of global organizations consider OT a moderate or significant factor in their overall security risk. The report findings indicate that the lack of centralized visibility contributes to organizations’ OT security risks and weakened security posture.
- OT security intrusions significantly impact organizations’ productivity and their bottom line. The Fortinet report found that 93% of OT organizations experienced at least one intrusion in the past 12 months and 78% had more than three intrusions. As a result of these intrusions, nearly 50% of organizations suffered an operation outage that affected productivity with 90% of intrusions requiring hours or longer to restore service. Additionally, one-third of respondents saw revenue, data loss, compliance and brand-value impacted as a result of security intrusions.
- Ownership of OT security is not consistent across organizations. According to the Fortinet report, OT security management falls within a range of primarily director or manager roles, ranging from the Director of Plant Operations to Manager of Manufacturing Operations. Only 15% of survey respondents say that the CISO holds the responsibility for OT security at their organization.
- OT security is gradually improving, but security gaps still exist in many organizations. When asked about the maturity of their organization’s OT security posture, only 21% of organizations have reached level 4, which includes leveraging orchestration and management. Notably, a larger proportion of Latin America and APAC respondents have reached level 4 compared to other regions. More than 70% of organizations are in the middle levels toward having a mature OT security posture. At the same time, organizations face challenges with using multiple OT security tools, further creating gaps in their security posture. The report found that a vast majority of organizations use between two and eight different vendors for their industrial devices and have between 100 and 10,000 devices in operation, adding complexity.
OT Security is a Corporate-Level Concern
As OT systems increasingly become targets for cyber criminals, C-level leaders recognize the importance of securing these environments to mitigate risks to their organizations. Industrial systems have become a significant risk factor since these environments were traditionally air-gapped from IT and corporate networks, but now these two infrastructures are becoming universally integrated. With industrial systems now being connected to the internet and more accessible from anywhere, organizations’ attack surface is increasing significantly.
With the IT threat landscape becoming more sophisticated, connected OT systems have also become vulnerable to these growing threats. This combination of factors is moving industrial security upward in many organizations’ risk portfolio. OT security is a growing concern for executive leaders, increasing the need for organizations to move toward full protection of their industrial control system (ICS) and supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems.
Best Practices to Overcome OT Security Challenges
Fortinet’s global 2022 State of Operational Technology and Cybersecurity Report indicated ways organizations can address OT systems’ vulnerabilities and strengthen their overall security posture. Organizations can address their OT security challenges by:
- Establish Zero Trust Access to prevent breaches. With more industrial systems being connected to the network, Zero Trust Access solutions ensure that any user, device or applications without proper credentials and permissions are denied access to critical assets. To advance OT security efforts, Zero Trust Access solutions can further defend against both internal and external threats.
- Implementing solutions that provide centralized visibility of OT activities. Centralized, end-to-end visibility of all OT activities is key to ensuring organizations strengthen their security posture. According to Fortinet’s report, top-tier organizations – which make up the 6% of respondents who reported no intrusions in the past year – were more than three times as likely to have achieved centralized visibility than their counterparts who suffered intrusions.
- Consolidating security tools and vendors to integrate across environments. To remove complexity and help achieve centralized visibility of all devices, organizations should look to integrate their OT and IT technology across a smaller number of vendors. By implementing integrated security solutions, organizations can reduce their attack surface and improve their security posture.
- Deploying network access control (NAC) technology. Organizations that avoided intrusions in the past year were more likely to have a NAC in place, ensuring that only authorized individuals can access specific systems critical for securing digital assets.
Securing OT Environments with the Fortinet Security Fabric
For more than a decade, Fortinet has protected OT environments in critical infrastructure sectors such as energy, defense, manufacturing, food, and transportation. By designing security into complex infrastructure via the Fortinet Security Fabric, organizations have an efficient, non-disruptive way to ensure that their OT environment is protected and compliant. With full integration and shared threat intelligence, industrial organizations gain fast, automated responses to attacks in any vector. Fortinet’s Security Fabric covers the entire converged IT-OT network to close OT security gaps, deliver full visibility and provide simplified management.
About the Fortinet OT and Cybersecurity Survey:
- This year’s State of Operational Technology and Cybersecurity Report is based on a survey of more than 500 global OT professionals conducted in March 2022.
- The survey targeted people holding leadership positions responsible for OT and OT security, from managers to C-level executives. Respondents represent a range of industries that are heavy users of OT, including manufacturing, transportation and logistics, and healthcare.
- Learn more about the Fortinet OT and Cybersecurity Survey in this blog.
- Learn more about securing critical infrastructures with Fortinet.
- Watch how Fortinet makes possible a digital world you can always trust, and view how the Fortinet Security Fabric platform delivers broad, integrated, and automated protection across an organization’s entire digital infrastructure.
- Read more about how Fortinet customers are securing their organizations.
- Learn more about FortiGuard Labs threat intelligence and research or Outbreak Alerts, which provide timely steps to mitigate breaking cybersecurity attacks. Read more about Fortinet’s FortiGuard security services portfolio.
- Learn more about Fortinet’s free cybersecurity training initiative, which includes broad cyber awareness and product training. As part of the Fortinet Training Advancement Agenda (TAA), the Fortinet Training Institute also provides training and certification through the Network Security Expert (NSE) Certification, Academic Partner, and Education Outreach programs.
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Fortinet (NASDAQ: FTNT) makes possible a digital world that we can always trust through its mission to protect people, devices, and data everywhere. This is why the world’s largest enterprises, service providers, and government organizations choose Fortinet to securely accelerate their digital journey. The Fortinet Security Fabric platform delivers broad, integrated, and automated protections across the entire digital attack surface, securing critical devices, data, applications, and connections from the data center to the cloud to the home office. Ranking #1 in the most security appliances shipped worldwide, more than 580,000 customers trust Fortinet to protect their businesses. And the Fortinet NSE Training Institute, an initiative of Fortinet’s Training Advancement Agenda (TAA), provides one of the largest and broadest training programs in the industry to make cyber training and new career opportunities available to everyone. Learn more at https://www.fortinet.com, the Fortinet Blog, or FortiGuard Labs.
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