IT Security | Production & Industry 4.0

Ready or not: IT/OT convergence and the key role for UEM

09. March 2021, Avatar of André MeinertAndré Meinert

Much of the attention given to digital transformation and changing business processes in the past year has focused on the sudden shift to remote work forced by the Corona crisis. But a lesser-recognized but equally important change is the continuing shift to networked production environments.

The growing adoption of networked production or operational technology (OT) is driven by many of the same forces behind remote workforces and IT infrastructure. OT networks also share some of the same endpoint management needs that business IT networks have like patching, updating and monitoring but with different requirements for how they can be managed. Clearly, the opportunity and the need to manage OT within an IT framework exist, but traditional business networks dominate any discussion about digital transformation

There are several reasons. On one hand, many companies see OT endpoint management as important but not something they are ready or necessarily need to address now. On the other hand, -- and this is much more important in my view -- OT client management is demanding greater attention because of increasing security concerns. In fact, those concerns are rising because of digital transformation. The question is no longer whether companies can or should integrate OT endpoints into IT management by using UEM, but when and how they must. Ready or not, IT/OT convergence is happening. So, it’s better to get ready now. UEM will play a key role in your preparation and implementation.

Convergence of OT and IT

To determine how and when it helps to look at the benefits of networked production:

  • Increased performance through more efficient process coordination
  • The ability to use data to inform decisions about how to coordinate the operation and performance of individual machines and devices to significantly increase the quantity and quality of production facility output
  • More efficient warehousing thanks to constantly updated inventory figures in ERP systems
  • Improved device availability through predictive maintenance
  • Fast error identification through comprehensive sensor integration and monitoring

Successfully achieving those benefits entails overcoming challenges specific to networked production environments including:

  • Increased internal and external exposure of production devices and a greatly increased risk of cyberattacks
  • The potential for faults in individual components to spread through the production line and cause cascading failures.
  • Dispersing vulnerabilities in individual endpoints to the entire system

There are potential downstream– and downright scary-sounding – risks as well including the risk of espionage, intellectual property theft, legal liabilities, damage to company reputation, and lost productivity. I mention those not to frighten you but to point out the need for a clear-eyed and well-informed approach, as well as the critical role that an overarching UEM approach will play in addressing the challenges and risks from the start.

Solutions for a comprehensive UEM approach

I say that based on the extensive experience and expertise that the baramundi has in addressing IT/OT convergence and the range of modular solutions available with our UEM system:

baramundi Inventory
For your network transparency newly added hardware and software are reliably catalogued.

baramundi Deploy
Secure and automated deployment of almost all types of software and applications.

baramundi Automate
Made for a centralized management and deployment to automate installations.

baramundi Vulnerability Scanner
Automated auditing of Windows-based PCs and servers for known vulnerabilities and compliance with security and regulatory policies

baramundi Update Management
Automated or manually controlled distribution of updates for software and firmware in networked production

baramundi Managed Software
Provides updates and security patches for many applications as ready-to-share, tested software packages

Those modules alone show how diverse the tasks are for managing IT and OT endpoints. What's important is, that the modules fit your company perfectly.

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