With industrial cyber security continuing to grow in demand, it’s no surprise that many operating companies are eager to put cyber security at the forefront of objectives this year. But as we all are well aware, operational security provides unique hurdles to overcome. Common challenges in today’s industrial security market almost always start with a need for inventory, a roadmap and a great deal of research on how to select a team, tools and procedures to maintain them.

However, OT security is very different from IT which poses additional challenges.  For example, OT systems are not homogenous, often don’t run on current technology or are amenable to mass actions for patching/remediation and you need to also plan for multiple compensating controls.  These actions take time to create, deploy and maintain.

This brings us to the third major challenge in ICS security, which is the severe shortage of appropriately trained/skilled staff. In many cases, it is not budget that holds organizations back, but the ability to find people to fill the slots they need to achieve the objectives they’ve set. In fact, according to a KPMG/CS2AI survey, the single biggest barrier to OT security is a lack of resources and talent.

chart of greatest cyber security obstacles

Overcoming these OT challenges require a partnership such as the one between Verve and 1898 & Co. to bring the best cyber security tools and practices together.

 As part of Burns & McDonnell, 1898 & Co. has 120 years of deep and broad experience turning data into action across complex industries. Their depth in understanding the physical mechanics of operating environments and expert OT security practitioners brings unique services to fill the OT security resource gap. 1898 takes pride in adapting to the needs of their clients, and with the increasing demand for operational security, they turned to Verve.

The Verve Security Center is a proven OT-safe platform that drives unparalleled insight and visibility into true risk within an OT environment. Combining Verve’s live risk view, OT asset management and host-based intrusion detection capabilities with 1898’s analysis and remediation execution, the joint offering adds context and actionability to insight. It provides customers with a 360-degree view into their operational environment, recommends how to prioritize critical assets, and leverages OT security expertise for guidance and execution.

“Effective OT systems management means not just identifying threats but taking action to remediate in real time. Our customers have seen a 60-70% decrease in risk to their OT environments within the first 90 days,” says Rick Kaun, VP Solutions of Verve Industrial. “This is a remarkable breakthrough for the industry and significantly reduces the time to remediation.”

Manufacturing case study

We recently deployed the Verve software to a manufacturing facility and within 6 weeks of project kickoff, we were able to determine the effectiveness of the solution. Our automated inventory, risk mapping and OT context provided a live assessment window into their specific environment.  For this customer, we uncovered (among many other findings):

  • 387 devices not patched for WannaCry and NotPetya
  • 83 PLCs with exploitable firmware
  • 5 systems that were dual homed, bypassing the firewall; 4 of which were running TeamViewer software
  • One critical segment of the operation had 95% obsolete/end of life host platforms
  • 48 dormant administrative accounts from people who longer work there
  • Poorly designed network segmentation
  • Insecure and overly prevalent remote desktop/remote access configurations

You can imagine how quickly the jaws hit the floor when we presented this data to our customer. These findings illustrated the magnitude of this client’s risk and prioritized very specific, targeted work products for remediation.

The most compelling part of this story is that the same technology that uncovered the risk was also used to reduce many portions of the findings (like user, software, patch and configuration errors). As the team progressed from project to project and reduced risk, the resulting dashboards showed their progress. This live view into current, contextual risk is a key differentiator of an OT endpoint management approach to OT cyber security.

The partnership between Verve Industrial and 1898 & Co. was designed for operating companies looking to efficiently improve their cyber security program through empirical, contextual risk reduction. Leveraging the Verve platform with 1898 professional services provides a dynamic and significant reduction in risk.

Webinar: Managed Security for OT Systems

1898 & Co. has partnered with Verve Industrial and its unique OT systems management platform to provide true managed security for OT systems. In this webinar you will learn: - The importance of robust and efficient OT security management to achieve efficient and effective OT security. - How the partnership between 1898 & Co. and Verve can help you dramatically improve your OT security maturity within 90 days.

Achieving Efficient and Effective Protection With Managed Security for OT Systems

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