The KedronUK team once again journeyed south for the last “No Sales Pitch” event of 2023 – Bridging the Gap: Managing and Protecting IoT/OT in the IT World. We returned to Clays Bar in Moorgate as the feedback from our last event was that virtual clay shooting was good fun (not to mention that it avoided standing around in a cold, muddy field waiting for your next turn!).

The “No Sales Pitch” theme means no hard-sell but a chance for attendees to see and learn about products which can help with current and upcoming challenges. IT teams are now often finding that security for the myriad of OT and IoT devices now appearing on enterprise networks is a headache. What has worked in the traditional PC world such as endpoint or agent-based solutions doesn’t readily translate to basic or outdated devices that cannot be easily managed, upgraded or replaced. 

The first presentation was given by Axel Debray from Forescout, who are a new partnership for KedronUK. Established for over twenty years, Forescout has a huge amount of data on the riskiest devices, including 39 billion data points and over 18 million device profiles. Being able to automatically inventory networks and profile the discovered devices with supporting information such as risk scores (both operational and security) starts to address the problem that you cannot secure what you don’t know about. With the Vedere Labs (the research arm of Forescout) showing a proof-of-concept for IoT specific ransomware last year, the risks associated with these devices continues to grow.

Kevin Berry from Keysight Technologies looked at many of the practical challenges facing security teams, who are tasked with increasing protection in the OT / IoT world. We often find the Keysight brand isn’t well known in the IT industry, but as the world’s largest test and measurement company, they have a wide range of solutions. Aside from the technical challenges of gaining visibility of OT devices, the typical environment where OT device lives has physical challenges such as temperature, humidity and vibration which need special consideration. Some of the scenarios considered included:

  • Analysing packets from network switches which are full (no space for a mirror port) or which nobody dares to touch as they are so old or unmanageable.
  • Getting the capture traffic to multiple tools without wasting bandwidth or overwhelming the tool(s) with the wrong data.
  • Ensuring that any downtime (scheduled or otherwise) with the monitoring tool(s) does not impact the OT environment being monitored.
  • Capturing traffic in the harsh environments as noted above.

Unfortunately, airline problems prevented Jorg Schallmayer from Infosim GmbH joining us to present on his topic – “StableNet as an IoT Platform Manager”. Phil Swainson stepped-up in his absense to provide an overview of StableNet but we hope to feature more about the work being done in the StableNet Innovation Lab on the management of IoT devices in the future.

Pulling a “double shift”, Phil Swainson concluded the talks and spoke about how Totuus from KedronUK can help with the ever-present challenge of maintaining a fit-for-purpose CMDB. A recent survey we ran indicated that almost half the respondents did not believe their CMDB was fit for purpose.

With the presentations complete, the bar opened, food was served and the shooting could start. Across the three virtual shoots in the event room, the best attendee on each screen stepped forward at the end for a winner takes all shoot-off. The prize of a new Xbox perhaps made for a timely Christmas present for somebody…

From speaking to attendees, the key takeaway from the afternoon was that gaining visibility into and securing OT / IoT is difficult for a wide variety of reasons, but there are innovative solutions to help bridge the gap and manage the risk around these devices. The environments and challenges can be complex but help is at hand!

To find out more about each technology discussed, take a look at our Bridging the Gap Presentation Slides here!

Justin Pounds

Justin Pounds

Managing Director

Responsible for the development and delivery of the strategic growth plan with particular focus on sales, marketing and key partnerships. 

Call us today on 01782 752 369
KedronUK, Kern House, Stone Business Park, Stone, Staffordshire ST15 0TL