Adding AI to Your Operational Technology Cybersecurity Playbook

microchip background with a plant in the middle and connection points drawn to other parts of a plant.

Dawson Paul | September 2, 2022

As the complexity and volume of cyberattacks continue to rise, companies must find new and innovative ways to keep up with changing attack techniques. Many manufacturers are turning to a sophisticated technology to fill this role – Artificial Intelligence (AI). According to a report from SenseOn (a leading cyber solutions provider), 81% of small and medium businesses surveyed said AI would improve their organization's security posture. Artificial intelligence can benefit businesses while keeping them up to date with modern cybersecurity requirements. Have you considered using AI to protect your assets? Read on to find out what exactly AI is, how businesses are using it, and how it can enhance your cybersecurity posture.

What is AI?

Artificial intelligence is increasingly being used by businesses to fight cyberattacks. But what is it, really? AI can be described as the ability of systems to identify patterns and trends in data. AI aims to develop systems capable of completing tasks and solving problems that usually require human intelligence. These intelligent systems can be trained to learn from data and act on that knowledge with machine learning. AI can perform tasks more efficiently and accurately than when they are done manually as well. The benefits are time saved, errors reduced, and attacks prevented.

How do I leverage AI for Cybersecurity?

It’s easy to see the value in AI, but how can it be used to protect your facilities? Here are several ways to leverage AI for cybersecurity:

  • Identify and prioritize threats
  • Automate low-level incident response
  • Ease the burden on analysts
  • Correlate incidents and catch connections that could be missed without an AI solution
  • Provide efficient threat detection even with a large volume of data

AI can do all this by analyzing historical data to identify trends and patterns. These patterns generate a standard baseline of activity, so AI can detect anomalies and respond to them. Having AI sift through large volumes of data gives analysts more time to focus on more critical alerts while providing them with a more comprehensive view of the threat. AI helps bridge the people gap in organizations in the face of resourcing challenges. With AI, you are getting a consistent solution that stays with your organization as long as you want it to. You have a 24/7 monitoring system that persists despite personnel changes to keep production going. This lowers the chance of missing an attack in between job changes, vacations, or other shifting responsibilities.

Since downtime is extremely costly for a company, AI can also help by improving response times and even automating some steps. In critical OT networks, AI can be the difference between stopping an attack and an extended outage. AI can also help provide visibility into OT networks where devices may need to be connected for management and monitoring purposes. Finally, legacy devices commonly seen in critical OT networks can be better protected by an adaptive AI tool instead of standard static and retrospective tools.

Is there anything else I should consider before using AI?

For all the benefits of AI, there is a downside. AI technology is also available to adversaries who can use some of the same techniques to defeat defenses and avoid detection. This is why a traditional cybersecurity team is still necessary. AI must be managed and cannot cover everything a human team can. A traditional cyber team must remain in place to investigate and respond to critical alerts and events; the AI solution is meant to complement the traditional cybersecurity team, not replace it. When you have a skilled team working in tandem with AI solutions, you can rest assured that you are doing everything you can to maintain robust, modern cybersecurity for your organization.

Striking the right balance between AI and your cyber team may seem complicated, but our OT experts are here to help. Please reach out to Interstates to find out more about how AI and other cybersecurity solutions can benefit you.