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Protecting Operational Technology: Security Strategies and Best Practices

By Febbraio 29, 2024No Comments

In the increasingly interconnected landscape of critical infrastructure, the OPERATIONAL TECHNOLOGY (OT) is playing a critical role in ensuring secure and reliable functioning in vital sectors such as energy, transportation and production. However, with the rise of the digitalization, OT devices are becoming increasingly vulnerable to cyberattacks and cyberthreats.
In this article we will explore the strategies and best practices to protect the OT addressing the challenges from handling of assets to incident response and restoration of operations.

IDENTIFY: Critical asset management in the OT

The management of critical assets is the first fundamental step to guarantee the security of OT equipment. Identification and correct classification of the assets enables organizations to fully understand the resources at risk and adopt measures aimed at protecting them from potential treats and vulnerabilities.
In this paragraph we will explore the importance of asset management and best practices for effective identification in the industrial sectors and more broadly of OT security frameworks.

Asset Management

The management of assets is fundamental to understand and protect critical OT resources. Identification and classification of assets based on their importance and vulnerability helps prioritize security measures. In an environment such as the Operational Technology as well as industrial and production equipment, it can often be noted that companies actually have no level of visibility of their digital infrastructure in use. Therefore, the use of tools of visibility become essential to establish an initial security perimeter.

Business Environment

Understanding the operational environment and and the commercial requirements is crucial to developing an effective security strategy for the OT. This includes the understanding of production processes, the supply chain and the interconnections with other systems.


A robust OT security governance implies the allocation of resources, the definition of roles regarding responsibilities, and the implementation of policies and procedures to guarantee the compliance and continuous protection.

Risk Assessment

The implementation of infrastructure risk assessment by means of consolidated and expertise-guided evaluation algorithms allows you to make informed decisions regarding risk management and resource allocation.

Risk Management Strategy

The malleability of the risk calculation algorithm also becomes fundamental to develop a clear and robust risk management strategy which allows you to mitigate identified threats and protect the OT from potential breaches or interruptions.

PROTECT: Protection of Operation Technology

The protection of assets of the operational technology is essential to guarantee the security and reliability of critical infrastructures. Effective implementation of protective measures helps limit unauthorized access, protect sensitive data and reduce the risk of OT compromise due to external and internal threats.
In this paragraph we will explore the different strategies and technologies in use to protect the OT and maintain a secure and protected operational environment.

Awareness and Training

The awareness and training of personnel is fundamental (as well as required by regulations) to guarantee that all actors involved in the OT are aware of threats and best security practices.

Access Control

Implement strict access controls to limit unauthorized access to the OT resources and to protect sensitive data from internal and external intrusions.

Data Security

Protect critical data that is transferred by OT devices through the implementation of security policies and controls to ensure the confidentiality, integrity and availability of information.

Info Protection

Use information protection techniques, such a encryption and pseudonymization to protect sensitive data and reduce the risk of information compromise.

Processes and Procedures Definition

Define and implement secure processes and operating procedures to guarantee that OT activities are performed in a safe and reliable manner.


Maintain OT assets and infrastructures regulary to guarantee that they are protected from vulnerabilities and function optimally.

Protective Technology

Use advanced protection technologies such as firewalls, systems of intruder detection, and antivirus, to protect the OT from internal and external cyber threats.

DETECT: Threat detection in Operation Technology

Timely threat detection is crucial to protect the OT devices from potential cyber attacks and security breaches. Constant monitoring of OT activities allows you to identify anomalies and suspicious events thus enabling a prompt and effective response to security incidents.
In this section we will explore the methodologies and techniques used for threat detection in OT and the continued protection of the operating environment.

Anomalies and Events

Constantly monitor OT activities in order to detect possible anomalies and suspicous events which could indicate a potential security breach or compromise. Continuous threat detection is of fundamental importance.

Continuous Security Monitoring

Implement continuous security monitoring systems to identify and respond swiftly to possible threats or breaches of the OT, FIM systems and other.

Detection Processes

Develop processes and procedures for the timely detection and investigation of OT threats, ensuring a prompt and effective response to security incidents.


An immediate and effective response to incidents is fundamental to mitigate negative impacts on Operational Technology and to swiftly restore normal operations. Developing detailed incident response plans, coordinating clear communication and carry out in-depth analysis are key elements to successfully adressing threats to the OT security.In this paragaph we will explore best practices and strategies to plan and manage responses to OT incidents.

Response planning

Develop detailed incident response plans to swiftly and effectively address OT security threats, thus minimizing negative impacts on operations.


Establish clear communication channels and protocols to coordinate responses to incidents and inform internal and external stakeholders.


Conduct in-depth analysis of security incidents to identify root causes and continuously improve OT protection measures.


Enact mitigation measures to minimize the impact of security incidents and swiftly restore normal operations of the OT and then implement automated measures of remediation.


Identify areas of improvement and implement corrective measures to reinforce the security of the OT and prevent future incidents.


RECOVER: Restoring operation

The fast and efficient recovery of Operation Technology is essential to minimize the impact of security incidents (measured as cost to second{indexing}) and restore normal operations in the shortest possible time.
Through advanced planning, implementation of countinued improvements and transparent communication with all stakeholders, organizations are able to ensure fast and smooth recovery after an interruption.
In this paragraph we will explore the strategies and necessary actions to plans, execute and improve the OT recovery process.

Recovery planning

Develop recovery plans to quickly and effectively restore OT operations after a security incident or outage.


Continuously evaluate recovery processes and implement improvements to guarantee a fast and complete resumption of OT operations.


Clearly communicate with all stakeholders during the process of recovery to maintain trust and transparency.

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