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OT Asset Management – A Quick Getting Started Guide

5 min. read
12/07/2022
By Lucia Dochita
OT Asset Management - A Quick Getting Started Guide Visual

Operational Technology (OT) is the hardware and software assets used to monitor and manage industrial processes and equipment – and it’s everywhere today. Used across many industries, OT can be found in assembly lines, manufacturing plants, public infrastructure, pharmaceutical facilities and other industrial environments. 

Many trends are driving widespread use of OT in the enterprise, including a pressing need for real-time data analysis and predictive maintenance, greater automation to reduce operating costs, and the increasingly connected nature of business, which has broadened the cyber attack surface. According to ABI research and Palo Alto Networks, nearly 70% of industrial firms had an OT cyber attack last year, and 60% said OT complexity and security is a top concern. 

In this blog post, we’ll take an in-depth look at the benefits of OT asset discovery and management, and how Lansweeper’s unified solution can help you master IT-OT convergence and proactively safeguard critical OT infrastructure.

Pinpointing and Mitigating Cyber Risk

Despite OT being so important to organizations and the public at large, tracking and protecting OT is challenging. In the past, OT systems were largely isolated and managed by separate organizations. Increasingly, these systems are connected to corporate networks, with some even leveraging Ethernet-based protocols and general purpose hardware – and they’re more interconnected than ever.

The convergence of IT and OT leads to cost, performance and productivity gains, but also introduces cybersecurity risk, because it’s easier to infiltrate the corporate network through OT devices. Here’s why:

  • Unique protocols: The majority of OT devices must perform real-time monitoring functions, which require unique protocols. This makes the process of scanning and identifying these devices difficult. Most scanning solutions lack the ability to leverage recognized manufacturer’s protocol, resulting in incomplete data about OT devices and systems. Without visibility, it’s impossible to make data-driven decisions for managing and optimizing those systems.
  • Outdated devices: OT systems are expensive and intended for long-term use, which means the vast majority are years old and may be outdated. Plus, unlike IT and IoT devices, OT systems are not patched or upgraded on a regular basis – and that gives hackers ample time to exploit vulnerabilities. 
  • No room for downtime: Taking OT systems offline is often not possible, especially in critical, always-on industrial environments. Downtime can be extremely costly, and as result, many OT systems run continuously with little maintenance.

To overcome these roadblocks, organizations must find a way to bridge the IT-OT gap in asset management and effectively track and manage the expanding number of network-connected OT devices. 

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The Path to OT Asset Management

The first step in effective OT asset management is to create a comprehensive inventory of all OT assets using a sophisticated asset discovery and inventory system. This includes documenting all hardware and software components along with their configurations and locations within the industrial network.

With a clear view of the assets and their condition, assessing risks associated with each asset and identifying vulnerabilities and potential points of failure is straightforward. The asset management system can also provide insights into asset performance, usage patterns, and maintenance schedules, to ensure all patches and updates are applied.

But there’s a catch: the system must be compatible with OT-supported protocols – a rare find among many IT scanning solutions. What’s more, the ability to integrate with cybersecurity frameworks, antivirus solutions, Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) systems, and Intrusion Detection/Prevention Systems (IDS/IPS) is crucial for enabling predictive maintenance and threat detection. 

That’s where Lansweeper comes in. Building on the foundation of world-class IT asset scanning technology, Lansweeper enables OT admins to master the complexities of OT asset management by providing extensive visibility and control, along with a unified solution that seamlessly integrates IT and OT asset data.

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A Unified Solution for IT-OT Convergence

Using its advanced scanning capabilities, Lansweeper for OT detects and identifies all network-connected OT devices and systems – programmable logic controllers (PLCs), flow meters, card scanners, security cameras and other equipment – and delivers detailed information about each device. It identifies industrial OT devices from manufacturers such as Siemens, Rockwell Automation, Mitsubishi Electric, Schneider Electric using OT-supported protocols to deliver unprecedented visibility and insights that help OT teams reduce risk and downtime.

OT Asset Management

Access to critical OT asset data – manufacturer, model, serial number, firmware versions and more – enables organizations to:

  • Find and fix vulnerabilities to protect critical OT assets
  • Track and manage the entire OT device lifecycle
  • Breeze through compliance audits against top industry standards and regulatory requirements – NIST, CIS, IEC 62443, NIS2 and more 
  • Integrate with other systems to expand the potential of your cybersecurity strategy

These capabilities are crucial for protecting critical infrastructure in an increasingly complex and evolving digital landscape.

Master IT-OT Convergence with Lansweeper

OT Asset Management is more important than ever in our hyper-connected world, especially in manufacturing, transportation and other industrial settings, where downtime from equipment failures or cyber threats can be devastating. 

By adding detailed OT information into Lansweeper’s comprehensive database of technology assets, organizations can have complete visibility across the network and the ability to make informed, timely decisions about how to protect and optimize their entire technology infrastructure.

Learn How to Scan your OT 

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