More than 10 million sensors across $1 trillion worth of equipment are monitored every day across GE, as this New York Times article explains. Traditionally isolated operational equipment is increasingly going digital, producing real-time data and new levels of machine connectivity.
But as the Industrial Internet opens up better ways of using data to optimize production, it also opens up new levels of risk. Fortunately, large-scale operational disruptions have not occurred yet. GE, security experts at Wurldtech (a GE company) and industrial customer experts are working hard to keep it that way.
Risk mitigation begins with understanding the differences between IT and OT environments. Operational technology environments require 24/7 uptime. Equipment lifespans are much longer, meaning a mix of older and more modernized systems populate the OT network. And security patching is not as simple under these conditions.
Once the operational parameters are understood, the next step is assessing the unique environment to find “unexpected” security weaknesses. Often, remote Internet connections -- which nobody documented or knew existed -- are discovered, as well as surprising types of machine communications.
To help gain a realistic view of your current risk profile, operational security assessments offer an unbiased perspective. These can include on-site inspections by qualified OT security experts, and lab testing to harden individual OT devices against malicious exploitation. Suppliers and operators can then work together to certify equipment and processes, as well as perform continuous security validation to reduce the risk of ongoing exposure.
In the operational world, risk includes human safety and environmental impact, adding urgency to the need to take proactive OT security steps now. Learn more about the new era of operational threats and how GE is making investments to carefully navigate the Industrial Internet.