Remote Access: is it right for you?

Is remote access right for your application?

Over the last few years, the use case for remote access has grown significantly. While the security aspect of this solution should be carefully planned, remote connectivity certainly might make sense for your OT application. If you decide to take the next steps, you might want to look at TDi Technologies, Xage Security, and XONA.

When users are not on site, they may require the ability to see and make changes to the network. Remote access technology makes this possible in a secure way. Using remote access technology in OT networks can provide organizations with enhanced operational efficiency, safety, troubleshooting capabilities, and cost savings. However, it is critical to implement proper security measures, such as robust authentication, encryption, and access controls, to ensure secure and authorized use of remote access technology in OT environments.

Deployment Effort

Risk Reduction

Deployment Cost

Business Value

Best For

High

High

$$$

High

Medium/Large Enterprises with

skilled OT staff

Benefits

  1. Enhanced Operational Efficiency: Authorized personnel can remotely access OT systems and devices, enabling them to monitor, manage, and troubleshoot industrial processes and equipment from remote locations. This can result in improved operational efficiency, as it eliminates the need for physical presence at the site, reduces travel time and costs, and enables faster response to operational issues or incidents.
  2. Safety and Security: With authorized access to OT systems and devices, remote employees reduce the need for physical access to potentially hazardous environments or critical infrastructure. This can help mitigate risks associated with accidents, injuries, or exposure to hazardous materials. Additionally, remote access can be secured through robust authentication and encryption mechanisms, reducing the risk of unauthorized access, and enhancing the overall security posture of OT networks.
  3. Troubleshooting and Diagnostics: Authorized users can remotely diagnose and resolve issues, perform maintenance tasks, or update configurations, without the need for on-site visits. This can lead to faster issue resolution, reduced downtime, and improved operational continuity.
  4. Cost Savings: By reducing the need for physical presence at OT sites, organizations can save on travel costs, operational expenses, and resource allocation. Remote access can also enable centralized management and control of multiple OT systems and devices from a single location, leading to more efficient resource utilization and cost optimization.
  5. Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery: Remote access technology can be a valuable tool for business continuity and disaster recovery in OT networks. In cases of unexpected events, such as natural disasters or other emergencies, remote access can allow authorized personnel to remotely manage and control critical OT systems and devices, ensuring continued operations and minimizing downtime.

Challenges

  1. Multi-Factor Authentication: As with all access methods – including remote access – it is highly recommended to implement a multi-factor authentication system. This will require training of your users and discipline to maintain.
  2. User Management: A best practice for user management is to tie it to your corporate user management system, such as Active Directory. A process will need to be implemented to ensure access is removed when it is no longer needed for people like contractors and former employees.

There are many reasons why teams would benefit from remote access from a workforce shortage and expertise point of view. If the benefits outweigh the challenges, be sure to do the upfront work to ensure your process and system are secure.

Want to learn more? Check out our OT Defense in Depth Cyber Security Buyer’s Guide.

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