Industrial Defender: An Innovative Player in a Niche Market

Critical infrastructure is getting smarter. Electric grids and oil platforms are leveraging IP connectivity, cellular and wireless sensor networks, commercial off-the-shelf software and open protocols to improve efficiency, cut costs and drive productivity. The invasion of information technologies (IT) into underlying industrial control systems (ICS) is well underway and the undisputed reign of operational technologies (OT) is at an end.  The relationship between the two systems would ideally be convergent; yet at the moment, it is all but symbiotic. The threshold of acceptable loss is widely disparate. IT can accommodate delays, interruptions, recovery through rebooting; for OT, delays and system crashes are unacceptable, pen testing is disruptive at best.  It is difficult to apply traditional IT security notions to legacy control systems; yet the requirements are exactly the same: availability, confidentiality, integrity.  This conflict is driving the growth of a niche, emergent market in OT security. While the issues have been publicly (if somewhat obscurely) debated for over a decade, the slow, but determined changeover to smart ICS is prompting a growing interest in those vendors that can offer dedicated security for OT.

One of the companies at the forefront of this market is Industrial Defender.  US-based and relatively small, Industrial Defender has been refining and tailoring OT security solutions since 2002. The company offers a turnkey solution called the automation systems manager that includes three primary components: security, compliance and change management. The advantage of being an early mover in the space means the company has had time to consolidate its experience across a number of automation environments, including ABB, Emerson, GE, Honeywell, Schneider, Siemens, and Rockwell, Invensys, Yokogawa, Elster, Itron, among a number of others. It has leveraged this experience to expand OEM certifications and strategic partnership with OT vendors. There is no doubt that the company has managed to invest itself convincingly in the space. Certainly with the growing awareness of advanced cyber threats, and the fear of tomorrow’s new Stuxnet, Industrial Defender is well positioned to retain a strong position in the market for OT security.