ABB joins Operational Technology Cyber Security Alliance

ABB joins Operational Technology Cyber Security Alliance
Published: 24 October 2019 - 5 a.m.
By: Martin Menachery
ABB has joined a new alliance to provide a technical and organisational framework for safe and secure operational technology (OT). The Operational Technology Cyber Security Alliance (OTCSA) aims to bridge dangerous gaps in security for OT and critical infrastructures and industrial control systems (ICS) to support and improve the daily lives of citizens and workers in an evolving world.

Industry leaders Check Point Software, BlackBerry Cylance, Forescout, Fortinet, Microsoft, Mocana, NCC Group, Qualys, SCADAFence, Splunk and Wärtsilä have partnered with ABB to establish the OTCSA.

“With complete 360-degree cybersecurity data-protection capabilities, ABB understands the critical importance of cybersecurity in systems and solutions for infrastructure and industry,” said Satish Gannu, chief security officer, ABB, and senior vice president, architecture and analytics, ABB Ability.

“We are confident the OTCSA will deliver a framework for much-needed solutions, at a time when industrial customers live in a world of increasingly sophisticated threats, putting organisations at risk of potentially catastrophic losses.”

The OTCSA mission is five-fold: (i) Strengthen cyber-physical risk posture of OT environments and interfaces for OT/IT interconnectivity; (ii) Guide OT operators on how to protect their OT infrastructure based on a risk management process and reference architectures/designs which are demonstrably compliant with regulations and international standards such as IEC 62443; (iii) Guide OT suppliers on secure OT system architectures, relevant interfaces and security functionalities; (iv) Support the procurement, development, installation, operation, maintenance, and implementation of a safer, more secure critical infrastructure; and (v) Shorten the time to adoption of safer, more secure critical infrastructures.

With 60% of organisations using ICS indicating that they experienced a breach in their systems in the past year, and 97% acknowledging security challenges because of the convergence of IT and OT, the need for the OTCSA is critical.

Cyber-attacks on OT and critical infrastructures are on the rise and they are impacting operations and representing a business risk across all industries – from disrupting manufacturing processes and utility systems to halting safety systems. Threats to OT can have potential impacts in scope and scale greater than in information-only environments, including loss of life, ecological damage and negative financial impact.

“Critical infrastructures and industrial control systems are essential to organisation revenue and profits and the global economy,” said Gannu. “Industry collaboration to establish architectural, implementation and process guidelines is required to quickly advance the posture of OT, which is already a decade behind IT when it comes to security.

Until now, there has been no industry group focused on improving cyber risk posture by providing tangible architectural, implementation, and process guidelines to OT operators and IT/OT solution providers so that they can navigate necessary changes, upgrades and integrations to evolving industry standards and regulations. These robust security guidelines will cover the entire lifecycle – procurement, development, deployment, installation, operation, maintenance and decommission – and address aspects related to people, process, and technology.

OTCSA promotes collaboration amongst leading IT and OT companies, thought leaders in the cybersecurity community, and vendors and OT operators from a variety of industries. Membership is open to any company that operates critical infrastructure, or general OT systems to run its business (OT operators) as well as companies providing IT and OT solutions (solution providers).

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