The convergence of digital OT and IIoT assets with cloud computing can provide numerous benefits to efficiency, productivity, and reliability. Cloud services providers are pushing OT asset owners hard on these benefits with the promise of substantial improvements. However, every additional connected asset also represents a potential access point for bad actors, up to and including nation-state level threats. This is particularly compounded by the use of geographically distributed and sometimes wirelessly connected edge assets in the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT).
When it comes to OT environments, a single connection from the internet can be considered an unacceptable risk, whether into a manufacturing plant or a bulk electric power system. Firewalls, long a network security mainstay, have been proven ineffective in stopping cyber threats with any level of sophistication and are no longer considered a viable security control. OT asset owners now face the dilemma of potentially opening up their facilities to cyber threats or losing out on the benefits of cloud enabled analytics, data storage, systems monitoring, and other applications.