OT Under Siege: Why Microsegmentation is the Missing Piece in Your Cyber Defense Puzzle


Agnidipta Sarkar

Read Time

3 Minutes

Last Updated

Feb 21, 2024

table of contents

The once-isolated fortress of Operational Technology (OT) networks is being stormed. The rise of interconnectedness, driven by Industry 4.0, has opened doors for OT to cyber threats that even traditional defences struggle to contain. While investments in cybersecurity are continuously increasing, cyber-attacks are not decreasing.

According to a Fortinet report, 75% of the surveyed OT organizations suffered at least 1 cyberattack in the last year, a chilling statistic starkly revealing the vulnerable state of critical infrastructure. Firewalls and DMZs, while valiant gatekeepers are no longer enough.

Imagine your OT network as a bustling metropolis. Critical infrastructure, like power plants and refineries, are the skyscrapers humming with activity. But lurking in the shadows are potential threats, ready to exploit any vulnerability. Traditional defenses, like city walls, offer a basic level of protection. They keep out the riffraff, but attackers can wreak havoc once inside, leaping from building to building and causing widespread disruption.

This is where microsegmentation comes in. Microsegmentation is a foundational element of autonomous self-adjusting pervasive cyber defense, like erecting secure neighborhoods within the city. Each critical asset or function is meticulously zoned, with restricted access and robust monitoring. Think high-security apartment complexes with vigilant guards and advanced surveillance. Even if an attacker breaches one zone, they’re effectively trapped, unable to roam freely, and cause widespread damage.

Here’s how microsegmentation superpowers your OT defense:

Precision Information Access: Unlike broad network rules, microsegmentation lets you define who and what can access specific devices and data down to the most granular level possible through software. It’s like having a personalized keycard for each resident, granting access only to their designated area.

Blast Radius Reduction: A breach becomes a contained incident, minimizing damage and allowing for faster response. Imagine a fire in one room in an apartment, never engulfing the entire building or city. This swift containment minimizes downtime and protects critical operations.

Non-Disruptive Deployment: Unlike other solutions that require massive overhauls, microsegmentation seamlessly integrates with existing infrastructure, causing minimal disruption to day-to-day operations. It’s like adding security upgrades to your existing buildings without needing a complete rebuild.

Lateral Movement Lockdown: East-west traffic, the attacker’s preferred path for infiltration, is tightly controlled. Think of secure sky bridges between buildings, allowing authorized movement while preventing unauthorized access. This curbs the attacker’s ability to spread and escalate the attack.

Learning From the Lay of the Land: Leveraging existing investments in cybersecurity like endpoint protection (EDR), incident management (SIEM), secure edge connectivity (CASB/SASE), etc., to build unprecedented visualization of changing threat landscape. This is much like knowing about the fire when the room’s heat pattern changes.

Early Warning on Material Impact: Microsegmentation can be custom-built with OT priorities to identify material impact on business operations in stages, starting from crown jewels, and coupled with kill switches, it can help enterprises to swiftly contain breach impact and take all necessary actions to pacify stakeholders like regulatory bodies and investors apart from the organization itself.

Save Lives and Improve Reliability: When designed on a comprehensive cyber defense platform, microsegmentation templates to kill cyberattacks can make the crucial difference in seconds that can save human lives from machine impact and can do this in a comparable, repeatable, and hence predictable way to ensure operational resilience.

Microsegmentation isn’t here to replace existing defences like DMZs and firewalls. It’s a powerful force multiplier, adding an extra layer of sophisticated protection. Think of it as highly trained, autonomously learning AI-enabled drones patrolling the neighbourhoods, working in tandem with the city walls and guards. Together, they create a formidable defence against even the most determined cyber threats.

So, if you’re an OT organization seeking to future-proof cybersecurity, don’t just look outwards. Look inward at the power of microsegmentation. It’s not just a technology; it’s a paradigm shift, transforming your OT network from a vulnerable city into a bastion of resilience. Embrace microsegmentation and watch your OT security soar to new heights.

Remember, in the ever-evolving landscape of cyber threats, the best defense is layered. Embrace the power of microsegmentation and build an OT network that’s secure, adaptive, and breach-ready.


If you are someone grappling with how to secure your OT in a progressive, cost effective manner, contact us.