The Opportunities of Operational Technology

Blog | Posted: 26-01-2024
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You might have heard the word OT (Operational Technology) thrown around in conversations but dismissed the term because it’s out of your remit, and that would be a fair point. OT is a completely different landscape to IT, with a load of new phrases to learn and people to speak to. Or so it was. Two major events have happened that are bringing OT into the modern age, whether they like it or not.  

Like the IT world, OT environments were subject to the problems COVID-19 created, with remote working being adapted to ensure employee safety and keep systems up and running. This meant that infrastructure had to be connected to the online world, something that was never intended as it exposes critical infrastructure to online threats that OT professionals are not equipped to deal with.

In addition, the EU has expanded the sectors it classes as ‘Critical National Infrastructure’ (CNI), and as OT assets feature heavily in these sectors their protection is now under the scrutiny of government, regulatory boards and compliance teams. These factors along with a few others mean it’s no surprise that recent projections indicate a big growth trajectory, with the global OT security market set to expand from an estimated 17.9 billion USD in 2023 to 38.2 billion USD by 2028! 

Currently, there are an abundance of cybersecurity tools for the IT world; a simple google of cybersecurity in IT will lead you down a rabbit hole for hours. The issue for the OT world is that tailor-made solutions are not so readily available, which is concerning because of the current global state of affairs with government agencies such as the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) having spoken on the emergence of state aligned actors specifically targeting the CNI verticals.


The reason that cyber criminals decide to undertake an OT attack is very simple, gain as much ransom money as possible by causing the most disruption possible. The nature of the services provided by OT means that even a minute of downtime can have colossal economical ramifications, not only for the organisation that has been hit, but for the supply chain involved. Therefore, if the cyber criminals shut these services down and demand a high ransom, they are likely to get the payout.  

The most prominent example of this risk was in May of 2021 when the colonial pipeline was hit with a ransomware attack; a single, compromised password resulted in days of upheaval, leading to disruption of fuel supply to the eastern U.S. region for days. The cost of remediation? $4.4 million. Attacks like this and the latest changes to the NIS2 framework have escalated the gap in cybersecurity in the area with 98% of organisations with OT now including their OT cybersecurity posture in the broader risk score shared with executive leadership and boards of directors.  

So, this is where you come in, the Value Added Reseller. In a world where deals are all about who can offer the best price, an understanding of the cybersecurity needed to protect OT can set you apart from the rest. The reward for doing so is: stronger relationships with your customer, big deals, and deals with longevity. Conversations only have to start small, because as the project grows, so does the size of the deal.  

As we have already discussed, OT is very rarely turned off, for patches, updates and general maintenance, meaning when it is in place, it stays there for good. For resellers, that presents an opportunity to introduce a technology that will remain in an organisation’s infrastructure for long periods of time and not only provide them with a solution to their problem, but also be the catalyst for change. Out and out OT cybersecurity tooling not only takes care of the security risks organisations are faced with, but they also bridge the gap between new and old. These solutions can be seen as the upgrades OT professionals never thought possible within their estate. The significance of this is that buying this sort of technology is not seen as a sale, it is seen as an investment, putting you on more regular calls with your customer to talk strategy, rather than how much more money you can knock off compared to your competitors.  

To find out more about OT get in touch with one of our team who will be happy to discuss our individual solutions or deliver an OT enablement.