As critical infrastructure systems around the world, including energy, transportation, and healthcare, are rapidly digitizing, the need for effective security measures becomes paramount. Organizations are connecting IT and operational technology (OT) to enhance efficiency, but this convergence also poses substantial risks. To address these risks, a mindset of "assume breach" is crucial, acknowledging that breaches are inevitable, and measures must be in place to thwart bad actors and minimize their impact.
The majority of organizations are actively seeking vulnerabilities in their systems, recognizing the necessity of bolstering their security postures. The federal government is also taking steps to secure critical infrastructure through new policies and tactics. Such systems are high-value targets for cyberattacks that could lead to widespread disruptions and risk to human life, as seen in incidents like the Colonial Pipeline attack.
Traditional security measures are often inadequate due to legacy systems not being designed with cybersecurity as a priority. The challenge lies in network separation models, where trusted networks are interconnected, allowing malware to spread if a breach occurs.
In response, adopting a "zero trust" approach is gaining prominence. This strategy shifts from protecting entire networks to securing individual endpoints. With the proliferation of devices running various applications, controlling interactions between devices and networks is vital to minimize risks.
The convergence of IT and OT requires a convergence of security efforts to safeguard both domains. The "zero trust" mindset, which focuses on allowing only trusted individuals and interactions, is gaining traction. The principles behind this approach are globally recognized and implemented, emphasizing a shift in the cybersecurity mindset rather than adopting specific solutions. Organizations must foster this mindset to effectively plan for and manage the aftermath of cyberattacks and their consequences.