COVID-19 forced organizations all over the world to transition their employees to a work-from-home policy. That change came at a time when organizations’ connected infrastructure is more complex than ever. Such complexity doesn’t just extend across IT environments, either. Indeed, machines and production processes are also becoming increasingly complex as organizations with OT environments seek to address the challenges of the 21st century.

The meeting of these two developments creates a central question: how do organizations with OT environments ensure secure remote access?

To answer that question, we need to first understand why remote access is necessary for OT environments. From there, we will discuss how organizations can facilitate secure remote access to their OT environments. Finally, we’ll identify some risks that complicate this process before revealing how a new partnership involving Tripwire can help to address those challenges.

Why Remote Access Is Necessary for OT Environments

Remote access to OT environments boils down to productivity. Administrators are under increasing pressure to provide access to individuals who can’t access OT assets physically. Remote access is especially concerning for the nearly half of the Fortune 2000 organizations that consider OT networks to be critical components to their business, as reported by Security Week.

On a more granular level, organizations have several reasons for enabling remote access to their OT environments. Software Toolbox identified three such factors:

  1. Empowering decision-makers with data access and visibility: Decision-makers need access to and visibility over data if they are to safeguard the organization’s interests. They need timely information to make the right decisions.
  2. Centralizing access across geographically distributed systems: Many organizations that own or operate OT environments have assets that are scattered across different countries and continents. This makes it difficult for people like remote workers to monitor those devices all at once. (Read more...)