The Integration of IT and OT Security

Information technology (IT) and operational technology (OT) cybersecurity protection are two distinct fields of cybersecurity, each with their own unique set of challenges and requirements.  

The main difference between IT and OT cybersecurity protection is the type of systems and data they protect. 

IT Security 

IT cybersecurity protection such as Difenda MXDR focuses on the information systems, networks, and data that support an organization’s day-to-day operations. This includes protecting sensitive data such as financial records, personal information, and confidential business information. 

Learn more about Difenda MXDR here.

OT Security

OT cybersecurity protection such as Difenda MXDR for OT focuses on the operational systems that control and monitor physical processes in industrial and manufacturing environments. This includes systems such as programmable logic controllers (PLCs), industrial control systems (ICS), and supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems. 

Learn more about MXDR for Operational Technology service components in the service brief here.

Differences in protection requirements 

IT systems tend to have a higher focus on data security and privacy, including protecting information from unauthorized access. They are also more likely to be connected to the internet and accessible from remote locations, making them more vulnerable. As such, IT systems often have strict requirements for data encryption, firewalls, and access control systems.

On the other hand, OT systems have a greater focus on availability and reliability. These systems are often mission-critical and have real-world consequences if they fail, such as halting production or disrupting power generation. As a result, OT systems typically require more stringent physical security measures and robust backup systems to ensure that they can continue to operate even in the face of failures or disruptions.

This means that OT cybersecurity protection must be more robust and proactive to prevent attacks from occurring. 

Differences in the threat landscape 

The IT and OT environments face different types of threats. For example, IT systems are more susceptible to cyber attacks such as malware and phishing, while OT systems are more vulnerable to physical attacks such as hardware tampering and power outages. 

Organizations must understand the differences between these two fields and implement appropriate security measures to protect both their IT and OT systems and data. This requires a comprehensive and integrated approach to cybersecurity that addresses both the IT and OT environments and ensures the security of the organization’s critical assets. 

How Does Difenda Integrate IT and OT security solutions for better visibility?  

Difenda provides a unified solution for protecting both IT and OT systems. Here’s how it works: 

  1. One unified platform: Difenda MXDR for OT utilizes a single platform called the Difenda Shield for managing both IT and OT security, enabling organizations to view their entire security posture in one place. This eliminates the need for multiple tools and systems and makes it easier for organizations to understand the relationship between their systems. 
  1. Integration with native IT systems: Difenda security solutions integrate with existing IT systems, such as firewalls, intrusion detection systems, and anti-virus solutions, to provide a comprehensive view of the organization’s security posture. This integration enables organizations to respond to security threats more effectively. 
  1. OT-specific protection: Difenda MXDR for OT provides specific protection for OT systems, including industrial control systems (ICS), supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems, and programmable logic controllers (PLCs). 
  1. Real-time threat detection: Difenda MXDR leverages advanced artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms to detect and respond to potential threats in real-time. This provides organizations with the ability to respond quickly and reduces the risk of damage to their critical systems and processes. 

Integrating Difenda MXDR and MXDR for OT enables organizations to secure their critical assets and respond to security threats more effectively. This provides organizations with peace of mind knowing that their IT and OT systems are protected and secure. 

Discover how a detailed OT assessment can help identify and solve gaps in your network with the sample OT Environment Assessment Report.

Why is it important to integrate IT and OT security in 2023?

Integrating IT and OT security is becoming increasingly important due to the increasing interconnectivity of systems. As the use of digital technologies in industrial systems continues to grow, the risk of cyberattacks increases.

Cyberattacks on industrial systems can have a significant impact on businesses, causing loss of data, production downtime, financial losses, and even harm to human life. Integrating IT and OT security ensures that the security measures are comprehensive and cover all areas of the systems. This helps to minimize the risk of cyberattacks and increase the resilience of the systems.

Integrating IT and OT security environments is important for businesses for several reasons: 

  • Better Visibility: Integrating IT and OT security provide organizations with a complete view of their entire network and all connected devices. This enables organizations to detect and respond to security incidents more quickly and effectively. 
  • Improved Threat Detection: Organizations can now detect and respond to threats that cross over from IT to OT environments and vice versa. 
  • Enhanced Risk Management: Businesses are able to identify and manage risks associated with their IT and OT environments more effectively. This helps organizations reduce the likelihood of security incidents and minimize the impact of security breaches. 
  • Improved Compliance: Ensure that you comply with regulatory requirements related to security, such as NIST, ISO 27001, and others. 
  • Improved Collaboration: Reduce security silos within your organization. Integrated security systems encourage collaboration between IT and OT teams. Thus, enabling them to share information and work together to identify and respond to security incidents. 
  • Better Resource Utilization: Use your security tools and technology more effectively throughout your entire network.

See how this company was able to successfully integrate its IT and OT security solutions with Difenda in our latest customer win!

Integrating IT and OT Security with Microsoft Defender for IoT  

Microsoft Defender for IoT is a cybersecurity solution that provides integrated protection for both IT and OT systems.

Difenda was a Microsoft Design partner for Defender for I0T and helped create the program that enables:  

  1. Improved Threat Detection and Response: Microsoft Defender for IoT leverages AI and machine learning to detect and respond to potential threats. The solution uses data from a variety of sources, including endpoint devices and cloud-based services, to identify potential security risks and provide organizations with the necessary information to respond. 
  1. Integration with IT Systems: Defender for IoT integrates with existing IT systems, such as Microsoft 365, to provide a unified view of the security environment. This integration enables organizations to better understand the relationship between IT and OT systems and reduce security silos. 
  1. OT-Specific Protection: Microsoft Defender for IoT provides specific protection for OT systems. The solution can detect and respond to threats in real-time, ensuring the security of these critical systems and processes. 
  1. Centralized Management: Paired with Difenda, Microsoft provides centralized management of security policies and configurations. This enables organizations to simplify their security operations and reduce the risk of misconfigurations. The solution also helps organizations to better understand their security posture and make informed decisions about their security strategy. 

By integrating with existing IT systems, Defender for IoT enables organizations to better secure their critical assets. 

Learn more about how Difenda MXDR for OT can improve your OT security posture in the MXDR for OT eBook.

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Ken Perkins

Biography coming soon.

Megan Miller

Megan Miller’s energy and passion for learning flow into all aspects of her work. As the Growth Manager, North America, she brings a background in sciences which she has transitioned to the tech sector in her role at Difenda.

With a Bachelors of Science in Geology, Megan is a lifelong learner who is voracious about learning anything she can get her hands on about cybersecurity. Her positive energy has built a sales strategy with a focus on expanding in the United States while nurturing the Canadian presence. She is responsible for recruiting and training the sales team. Together with the company’s leadership, she creates the sales process and the company’s product strategy in order to better serve the customer base. This ensures that our customers have a highly trained and highly motivated team to help them every step of the way, Megan has completed Microsoft SC-900 training and working towards mastering Microsoft.

Whether at work or play, Megan is fully committed. She took her love of hockey all the way to the semi-professional level as a competitive hockey player. Megan loves all things sports including water skiing, scuba diving, cycling, and snowboarding. She also enjoys time with family and reading about alternative energy, innovation, and cybersecurity.

Natasha Phanor

As the Microsoft Partner Manager at Difenda, Natasha Phanor is responsible for driving growth within our Microsoft Partnership. With six years in the industry, she offers a fresh, energetic approach, and the ability to focus on our customer’s needs throughout the entire process. Natasha has the innate ability to foresee customer needs and solve problems before they arise, which creates a smooth road for each customer she encounters.

As the recipient of the Outstanding Services Partner of the Year Award in 2018, it is clear that Natasha responds quickly to customer needs, creates a platform for understanding a customer’s business requirements, and walks them through the process to ensure their complete satisfaction.

In her spare time, Natasha is as energetic and passionate as she is on the job. A self-proclaimed foodie-extraordinaire, she enjoys dinner parties, traveling, downhill skiing, hiking, biking, and reading. Natasha has a Bachelor of Fine Arts, specializing in Dance, from Ryerson University.

Lisa Templeton

Lisa Templeton is the perfect combination of human empathy and technological prowess. In her role as People Services Manager, she takes care of our team members to support them in their daily work, as well as on their personal life paths. Happy employees make for happy customers, and Lisa excels in giving our employees the tools they need for success in order to become the best possible versions of themselves. Along with employee formation, she shines in the service delivery support domain to continuously improve the process. Her 24 years of experience in IT Operations and Service Management help her create quality and efficiency at Difenda.

Having attended the Information Systems Management certificate program at Ryerson University, and with various other certifications to her credit, Lisa is perceptive and innovative when it comes to information technology, but also sensitive to the needs of her human constituents. Responsible for achieving the first privately owned company HDI Support Center certification in Canada, she has also designed and implemented Service Management excellence programs and 24×7 IT Operations departments for multiple IT organizations, and has created corporate rewards and recognition programs to keep her employees engaged and motivated.

On the personal side, Lisa passionately supports the cause of breast cancer research, having lost her mother to the disease. She reads voraciously in her spare time, and enjoys the art of home renovation. The summer months also bring time on her boat and exploring new hiking trails.

Miranda McCurdy

Miranda McCurdy uses her myriad super powers in all aspects of her job and personal life. As the Marketing Director at Difenda, Miranda McCurdy brings over a decade of experience to the table, which includes expertise in all facets of operations, brand management, and content marketing, as well as a multitude of successful strategies for the ever-expanding digital world. She is an expert at simplifying the message the company is trying to send, filling in gaps in the information, and strengthening the content in order to create compelling narratives that strengthen the brand and developing programs that bring teams together.

With several Addy Awards issued by the American Advertising Federation Cleveland to her credit, and her never say die attitude, Miranda understands both the broader picture and the minute details that are needed to successfully market a product. With her abilities to harness both the talent needed to spread the message, as well as to create the message itself, she is an integral cog in the company’s ability to communicate with customers and other stakeholders.

When she is not building a brand, she shares her ability to fill the gaps in her community by volunteering with Habitat for Humanity, the Special Olympics, and the Charleston Food Bank. In her spare time, Miranda spends time with her family, enjoys fitness and health, paddle boarding, reading, and arts and crafts.

Juliana Zaremba

Connections are the name of the game for Juliana Zaremba. As Strategic Partnerships Director, she is responsible for Difenda’s channel partnerships and the development and ownership of the channel partner program. She is also responsible for the global Microsoft Partnership, including the creation of strategic plans with MSFT contacts that will facilitate the continued growth of the business and establish certification and training protocols in all security technologies. Her role is multifaceted, as she acquires partners, manages relationships with them, and develops strategies that will provide cutting edge security solutions to our customer base. Another integral aspect of her job is to facilitate growth.

With a Bachelor’s in Math from the University of Waterloo and 14 years of experience from her previous roles at Herjavec Group and CDW, her cutting edge focus and ability to develop long-lasting relationships and strategies provides world class security solutions to our customer base.

Juliana thrives on connections outside of work as well. She is a philanthropist and contributor with Women4Change based in Hamilton. This group of local women is passionate about supporting local causes, and she focuses her efforts around Women in STEM. She is also a member of Club Italia in Niagara Falls and supports their youth events throughout the year.

When not managing the Microsoft Global partnership, Juliana enjoys reading, often reading several books at once. Juliana enjoys exploring the Niagara Escarpment with her family, as well as sharing meals and experiences with her extended family. Juliana’s competitive nature has her always trying new things, like Whoop band challenges and Peloton.

Jeffry Jacob

Biography Coming Soon