Fortinet global survey uncovers critical OT security challenges

Fortinet

Fortinet has released its global 2022 State of Operational Technology and Cybersecurity Report.

While industrial control environments continue to be a target for cyber criminals – with 93% of Operational Technology (OT) organizations experiencing an intrusion in the past 12 months – the report uncovered widespread gaps in industrial security and indicated opportunities for improvements. Key findings of the report include:

OT activities lack centralized visibility, increasing security risks. The Fortinet report found that only 13% of respondents have achieved centralized visibility of all OT activities. Additionally, only 52% of organizations are able to track all OT activities from the security operations centre (SOC). At the same time, 97% of global organizations consider OT a moderate or significant factor in their overall security risk. The report findings indicate that the lack of centralized visibility contributes to organizations’ OT security risks and weakened security posture.

OT security intrusions significantly impact organizations’ productivity and their bottom line. The Fortinet report found that 93% of OT organizations experienced at least one intrusion in the past 12 months and 78% had more than three intrusions. As a result of these intrusions, nearly 50% of organizations suffered an operation outage that affected productivity with 90% of intrusions requiring hours or longer to restore service. Additionally, one-third of respondents saw revenue, data loss, compliance and brand-value impacted as a result of security intrusions.

Ownership of OT security is not consistent across organizations. According to the Fortinet report, OT security management falls within a range of primarily director or manager roles, ranging from the Director of Plant Operations to Manager of Manufacturing Operations. Only 15% of survey respondents say that the CISO holds the responsibility for OT security at their organization.

OT security is gradually improving, but security gaps still exist in many organizations. When asked about the maturity of their organization’s OT security posture, only 21% of organizations have reached level 4, which includes leveraging orchestration and management. Notably, a larger proportion of Latin America and APAC respondents have reached level 4 compared to other regions. More than 70% of organizations are in the middle levels toward having a mature OT security posture. At the same time, organizations face challenges with using multiple OT security tools, further creating gaps in their security posture. The report found that a vast majority of organizations use between two and eight different vendors for their industrial devices and have between 100 and 10,000 devices in operation, adding complexity.

OT Security is a Corporate-Level Concern

As OT systems increasingly become targets for cyber criminals, C-level leaders recognize the importance of securing these environments to mitigate risks to their organizations. Industrial systems have become a significant risk factor since these environments were traditionally air-gapped from IT and corporate networks, but now these two infrastructures are becoming universally integrated. With industrial systems now being connected to the internet and more accessible from anywhere, organizations’ attack surface is increasing significantly.

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Media contact

Rebecca Morpeth Spayne,
Editor, Security Portfolio
Tel: +44 (0) 1622 823 922
Email: editor@securitybuyer.com

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