A New Milestone In Protecting Critical Infrastructure

By Curtis Simpson, CISO

This year’s winter in Texas reminded me of a movie I hadn’t seen in years; 1996’s “The Trigger Effect”.  The movie paints a highly dramatic picture of the potential domino effect of a lengthy power outage and its impact on a modern society that relies on critical technologies.  Critical infrastructure is so vital to today’s society that its standstill or disruption could have a devastating effect on our economy, public health and safety. Other critical infrastructures include the chemical sector, communications, healthcare and transportations.

And while previous administrations already agreed on a Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency Act in 2018, last week’s announcement seems to reach an important milestone, with a 100-Day Plan that focuses exclusively on securing the nation’s electrical grid. This initiative will serve as a pilot for a planned comprehensive cybersecurity strategy for other critical infrastructure sectors.

Let’s have a closer look at the plan and tie it back to industry best-practices we have seen at Armis.

Upgrading The Hardware Won’t Be Enough

Many ICS and OT systems in critical infrastructures were built decades ago, and are still secured largely through legacy methods based on network design and role-based access.  Updating and replacing older equipment should inherently improve their security posture, however, today’s reality calls for a more holistic approach.

The need for a multi-faceted approach compounds when we consider that it’s often difficult to take systems offline for maintenance due to the critical nature of the services they provide.  The rapid and seemingly endless discovery and disclosure of vulnerabilities exposing both newer and older OT and ICS devices to highly impactful attacks are underlining the need for defense in depth.

In that light, the 100-day plan from the Biden administration identified a few interesting goals:

  1. Real-time situational awareness with industrial control systems and OT   
  2. Enhanced security incident detection, mitigation, response and forensics
  3. Increased visibility of threats within ICS and OT systems
  4. Reinforcing the IT networks and infrastructure used within facilities

A Unique Approach – Fit For Critical Infrastructure Systems

The Armis agentless device security platform is here to help. It does not require agents or additional hardware. Instead, it works with your existing network infrastructure, security, and management systems to collect the data it needs to discover, identify, and analyze the risk of all devices in your environment. The platform collects data by passively monitoring traffic, not impacting network performance, other devices, or your users. It does not require any changes to your existing network and has no potential to impact availability or latency in any capacity.

Get insights from our whitepaper on industrial IoT security or book a demo to review our innovative agentless approach.

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