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.