Tosibox blog by Jerry Reeves: Solving IT/OT convergence
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Solving IT/OT convergence

Jerry Reeves, VP – Technology, Tosibox Inc.

The number one question we get asked by resellers is: “Yes, but will IT let you into their network?” The answer is YES! TOSIBOX® technology facilitates the convergence of both OT (operational technology) performance and IT security and data management expectations.

The latest initiatives of the Internet of Things and Industry 4.0 are connecting multitudes of devices and systems faster than ever – from industrial robots and water treatment facilities to elevators and electrical substations. Thanks to this connectivity, these devices and systems can be serviced and maintained remotely as well as provide real-time data for monitoring and analytics, but the security of the connections is not always considered. Why? Complexity, Scalability, and Cost are a few of the limiting factors.

IoT applications and projects typically require exchanging OT data with IT systems to gain increased business intelligence. Often these goals include predictive maintenance, advanced data analytics or reduced costs and increased profits. Therefore, collaboration between OT and IT stakeholders is already in process. However, the impasse often occurs around the topic of security.

Enterprise IT departments understand this need for cyber security, but often discount operation’s need for ease of use and efficiency. Conversely, operational teams (who also understand the reasons for security) underestimate the complexity of securing data transfer, access control, in these multi-tiered network environments.

Your bridge between IT and OT

The TOSIBOX® Virtual Central Lock platform is your cooperative tool for the IT/OT ecosystem. It is your system of scalable concurrent VPN connections for infrastructure management of users, devices, networks, VLANs and access groups, and it enables remote maintenance, continuous monitoring and data logging.

For operations, TOSIBOX® automates the VPN process such that VPN setup and access control for operational staff is point-and-click. However, the automated process still utilizes industry-leading 4k-bit RSA authentication and 256-bit AES encryption. These are often fundamental IT security aspects used by IT professionals creating traditional VPNs.

Additionally, TOSIBOX® access control is easy enough that operations staff can restrict network users, which can include third-party integrators, OEMs, or contractors, down to the IP/MAC level or even down to a particular port (VNC, Remote Desktop, etc.).

Finally, TOSIBOX® requires multi-factor authentication. However, one-factor MUST be physical. This physical factor of authentication (such as our crypto-processor USB Key), ensures that only the true authorized users can gain access.

The IT/OT handshake

Imagine a network infrastructure that can be deployed and utilized across all levels of an enterprise to secure and enable internal and external users to simultaneously contribute to the proactive improvement of the company. Sound impossible? It is a reality with TOSIBOX®.

IT and OT stakeholders can find common ground in the security and ease of use of TOSIBOX®. As operational staff become more self-sufficient in access control and network security, it frees IT staff to focus on the more emerging challenges of an organization’s IT needs. Organizations who achieve this middle-of-the-bridge posture will immediately begin to recognize efficiency results in both operations and IT.

Start the conversation

Every organization is confronted with this IT/OT convergence discussion. There are adversarial relationships and collaborative relationships. The collaborative relationships have both teams talking and finding solutions. Use the links in the Tosibox Security Center as a catalyst to start the conversation and bridge the divide.

“IT and OT stakeholders can find common ground in the security and ease of use of TOSIBOX®.”

Jerry Reeves, VP – Technology, Tosibox Inc.