The worlds of information technology (IT) and operational technology (OT) are colliding. In July 2019, cited a survey finding where 82% of respondents told Forrester and Nozomi Networks that their organizations were in the early stages of an IT-OT convergence. Some said their organizations were embracing this meeting more fully.

This finding begs several questions. Why are IT and OT converging? And is this culmination a seamless transition, or are organizations experiencing challenges along the way?

This blog post aims to find out by first identifying the differences between IT and OT. It will then provide insight into IT-OT convergence and discuss challenges that this junction is creating. It will then discuss how containers can solve some of those challenges.

IT and OT: Understanding the Differences

IT and OT are not the same. According to Webopedia, IT covers all aspects of managing and processing information. It usually applies to businesses and large organizations instead of homes and personal computing devices. As such, it covers technologies such as servers, databases, web applications and business phones.

This is a bit different than OT, which consists of technologies that help to manage and monitor physical devices, processes and operations. OT is especially relevant for organizations that have industrial environments. Those types of organizations could use OT to keep industrial assets like factory equipment, critical infrastructure systems and HVAC fans running, notes i-SCOOP.

For years, technologies in IT and OT have remained apart. Sierra Wireless attributed this separation to the fact that many OT systems’ designs did not traditionally allow for easy integration with IT systems. Those OT assets used communications and protocols that IT systems couldn’t understand, for instance. Some OT systems were also air-gapped from other parts of the organization’s network in the attempt to protect the availability of (Read more...)