Operational technology gets smarter and more connected each year. As the amount of data generated and processed within OT networks continues to grow, new opportunities have arisen for threat actor — ranging from individual cybercriminals to nation states—to wreak havoc on critical systems. OT operators need assurance that their devices are protected and securely reporting data. Maintaining that assurance has grown increasingly difficult. Even systems that are not directly targeted can bear the cost of collateral damage, due to the rapid pace of development in new threats that specifically target ICS systems. The solutions available to protect OT assets and devices have become problematic. Industrial firewalls, in particular, are complex to implement and maintain, and are the most common point of failure in a successful cyber attack. An incorrect setting in an industrial firewall creates a paradox where the very device asset owners rely upon to protect their network introduces new vulnerabilities. Moreover, tuning and updating firewalls drives head count and high operating expenses while delivering questionable return on investment to the asset owners. To manage the growing threats, OT operators are shifting to a model in which cybersecurity is built directly into OT devices, rather than added on after the fact. Embedded, hardware-enforced security technology provides stronger protection and simpler administration than any other approach.
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