System integrators: Cybersecurity and IT/OT convergence champions

Cybersecurity is becoming a larger focus and priority for system integrators (SI) as the nature of the workforce changes.

By Jack Smith December 12, 2021

According to a survey of the 2022 System Integrator Giants, COVID-19 concerns was the biggest challenge facing system integrators this year, the same as last year. Although 2021 was a better year than 2020, cyberattacks have increased since the COVID-19 pandemic, which is why CFE Media selected “cybersecurity and information technology (IT)/operational technology (OT) convergence” as the theme for the 2021 Global System Integrator Report (GSIR). Nearly every article in this GSIR issue provides content on how system integrators can help users keep manufacturing plants safe.

“The pandemic has highlighted vulnerabilities in our industrial setup, including our supply chains,” said Jose M. Rivera, CEO, Control System Integrators Association (CSIA) in his annual column. “Reshoring, near/local sourcing, sustainability and national interest considerations seem to be gaining traction. Automation is a must to make it economically viable. Current labor shortages are incentivizing manufacturers to add or increase automation of their plants and processes. Manufacturing and process industries view digital transformation as a new way to gain competitive advantage. While deployment of digital transformation is broad and involves softer areas like change management, there is an important technology component where SIs can play a leading role.”

Because of the constantly evolving nature of cybersecurity risks, digital transformation, IT/OT convergence and cybersecurity best practices must stay continually vigilant. As one system integrator stated: “SIs should truly understand both OT and IT, and be able to effectively champion the goals, mindsets and tactics of both of these “worlds.” SIs should work with customer IT, OT and information security groups whenever possible, helping to effectively bridge any gaps between groups as needed. This model allows for holistic solutions that provide true ROI, effectiveness, enterprise-wide buy-in and sustainability once implemented.”

Original content can be found at Control Engineering.

Author Bio: Content manager, CFE Media