IoT Security Fundamentals: IoT vs OT (Operational Technology)

Introduction: Knowing the Notions

 Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) incorporates technologies such as machine learning, machine-to-machine (M2M) communication, sensor data, Big Data, etc. This article will focus predominantly on the consumer Internet of Things (IoT) and how it relates to Operational Technology (OT).

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Operational Technology (OT) is a term that defines a specific category of hardware and software whose purpose is to monitor and control the performance of physical devices. In a sense, OT is about task-specific systems that are tailored to the needs of particular industries. What is more important is that these systems support mission-critical operations that fall typically in the area of Engineering.

Above all, IoT products value convenience delivered to their users through a public cloud-based service. Although some consumer-type IoT devices have sensing capabilities, the functionality of these devices may vary considerably. On the other hand, OT deals with industrial operations where a sensor connected to a PLC or another industrial mechanism collects output data and sends it to a service provider – usually a private cloud that stores the proprietary data – for further analysis. The nature of this data can be about:

  • Temperature
  • Pressure
  • Light
  • Wind
  • Humidity
  • Vibration

Often the feedback extracted from the industrial environment may serve as an indication to calibrate properly a heater, pump controller, pressure balances, etc., which will lead in turn to optimization, partially or wholly, of particular operational processes, as well as more accurate fault detection.

In reality, with its features that allow visualization, data logging, passing of data, real-time control, etc., modern SCADA equipment is starting to resemble IoT technology. Nonetheless, IoT cannot be expected to perform well where some industrial processes take place – be that closing/opening valves or resetting actuators. This is the area of expertise of OT, since its industry-specific (Read more...)

*** This is a Security Bloggers Network syndicated blog from Infosec Resources authored by Dimitar Kostadinov. Read the original post at:

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