What is Operational Technology (OT)?
Operational Technology, the hardware and software assets used to monitor and manage industrial processes and equipment - is everywhere today. Used across many industries, OT can be found in assembly lines, manufacturing plants, public infrastructure, and pharmaceutical facilities. Many trends are driving the 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.
Operational Technology & Cyber Security
Despite Operational Technology being so critical to organizations and the public at large, managing 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 - it's easier to use it to infiltrate the corporate network. Key challenges of managing OT and Operational Technology cyber security include:
Ready to learn more about Lansweeper OT?
How to scan OT Devices
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 the recognized manufacturer's protocol, resulting in incomplete data about OT devices and systems. Lacking visibility, it's impossible to make data-driven decisions for managing and optimizing those systems.
OT systems are expensive and therefore intended for long-term use, which means the vast majority are years old and may be outdated. Unlike IT and IoT devices, OT systems are not patched or upgraded on a regular basis, giving hackers ample time to exploit vulnerabilities.
No Room for Downtime
Taking OT systems offline is often not possible, particularly in critical environments such as healthcare and public infrastructure. Even in manufacturing facilities, downtime can be extremely costly. As a result, many OT systems run continuously, with maintenance downtime scheduled very infrequently.
Historically, scanning solutions have only been able to collect limited information about OT, and much of it was unusable. Until now.
What is Lansweeper OT?
Building on the foundation of our world-class scanning technology, Lansweeper has been expanding its software sensors by developing a new solution that identifies industrial OT devices from manufacturers such as Siemens, Rockwell Automation, Mitsubishi Electric, and Schneider Electric. It works by using industrial protocols - Siemens S7 Communication, EtherNet/IP, MELSEC, Modbus (Modicon), BACnet, and OPC UA - providing organizations with the visibility and insights they need to reduce the risk of failure and security incidents across their OT infrastructure.
Leveraging proprietary discovery capabilities, Lansweeper OT will be able to correctly detect and identify an organization's OT devices and systems such as programmable logic controllers (PLCs), flow meters, card scanners, security cameras, and other equipment that is traditionally managed separately from IT assets. It will collect and deliver detailed information about each device, including manufacturer, model, serial number, firmware versions, and more, enabling customers to:
- Plan and manage changes, maintenance, and equipment refreshes
- Enable the remediation of firmware vulnerabilities
- View detailed, complete inventory information for all OT assets.
Customers will benefit from a single pane of glass for all assets - IT, IoT, and OT - enabled by Lansweeper's Cloud extension. With more than a 25% increase in vulnerabilities and advisories from ICS-CERT in 2021, along with a number of high-profile exploits, subsequent releases of Lansweeper OT will enrich OT inventory with vulnerability data to provide customers with OT attack surface information within our platform.
"OT Asset Management is crucial in today's hyper-connected world, particularly in industries such as infrastructure and manufacturing, where the risk of downtime due to equipment failure or cybercrime is high," said Bert De Mol, VP of Research and Innovation at Lansweeper. "By adding detailed OT information to Lansweeper's rich datastore of IT and IoT asset data, teams will have complete visibility across their entire technology infrastructure, and the ability to make timely, data-driven decisions to proactively ensure the health and security of the technology estate."
Gain Visibility Across Industrial Environments As IT and OT Converge
Introducing Lansweeper OT Scanner
Lansweeper OT will be one of many extensions to the Lansweeper technology asset platform, enabling organizations to solve a wide range of business problems, from optimizing IT operations and reducing costs, to strengthening cybersecurity, and improving service delivery, simplifying compliance audits, and more.