OT Cybersecurity: From Novice to Expert


A guide to kick start and successful career in OT Cybersecurity.

Are you interested in becoming an expert in OT (Operational Technology) Cybersecurity? Look no further! Our blog is here to guide you on your journey from a beginner to a seasoned professional in the field of OT Cybersecurity. In this blog, we provide valuable insights, tips, and strategies to help you understand the fundamentals of OT Cybersecurity and develop the necessary skills to protect critical infrastructure systems. Whether you're new to the field or looking to enhance your existing knowledge, our comprehensive articles cover a wide range of topics, including:

  • Introduction to OT Cybersecurity: Learn about the unique challenges and threats faced by operational technology systems and the importance of securing them.
  • Best Practices and Frameworks: Discover industry-standard frameworks and best practices for implementing effective OT Cybersecurity measures.
  • Risk Assessment and Vulnerability Management: Understand how to identify and assess risks, as well as implement strategies to mitigate vulnerabilities in OT systems.
  • Incident Response and Recovery: Gain insights into developing incident response plans and strategies to effectively respond to and recover from cyber incidents in OT environments.
  • Emerging Trends and Technologies: Stay up-to-date with the latest trends, technologies, and innovations in the field of OT Cybersecurity.

The cybersecurity workforce is facing a significant shortage, with a Forbes report from December 2022 highlighting the gravity of the situation. The United States alone had 700,000 unfilled cybersecurity positions, and globally, the industry was short by approximately 3.4 million professionals. This gap represents a critical challenge for the security of digital infrastructures worldwide.

The field of OT Cybersecurity is specialized and there is a lack of skilled workforce. According to SANS Institute white paper The State of ICS/OT Cybersecurity in 2022 and Beyond"The ICS security workforce is becoming more skilled and valued".

The Journey towards a successful OT Cybersecurity Career can be divided into 5 distinct phases. These phases would need different amount of time based on the background and experience of a candidate in Computer Systems or Control Systems.

The five phases are:

  1. Before the Journey
  2. Prerequisite
  3. Tradecraft
  4. Practice
  1. Before the Journey

This phase is the important ground work for getting into computer and Information technology. Knowing a Language is helpful in many ways and at various levels in your career. I have neglected this part in my graduation and had to be dependent on colleagues for small roadblocks. This knowledge can be gained either through your education or through the online courses available for free. Few of My favourites are:

2. Prerequisites

Getting into OT Cybersecurity needs to understand the concepts of Computer and Network Security in general and Control and Automation Systems in particular. There are lots of resources available again for understanding the Computer and Network Security and my curated list is as below:

The second important Skill is understanding the Control And Automation Systems. There are few old videos that explain this in details:

3. Tradecraft

Now that you understand the Computer security and Control system both. The next step is to learn the Cybersecurity Specific to ICS. There are few free resources that can really help you on this.

4. Practice

Practicing the tradecraft is very essential as this will boost confidence and organise the learning. You may need to build small labs to practice. These tools and books will help you get this.

During this phase you should also acquaint your self with the Industry standards like IEC/ISA 62443 which is the standard for Industrial Automaton and Control Systems Security. Other reginal standards shall also be learnt like NERC-CIP, CSA(Singapore) etc. ISO standards are also available for few OT specific application like ISO 27019 (Information Controls for the Energy Utility Industry)

Gaining a certificate would boost your employability and confidence. I intentionally dd not put the certification in the previous phase as certification without practice is useless and you would forget the knowledge in few days. Few ICS specific certifications are:

ISA/IEC 62443 Cybersecurity Certifications

SANS Global Industrial Cyber Security Professional (GICSP) Beginner Level

SANS Global Response and Industrial Defense (GRID) Advanced Level

SANS GIAC Critical Infrastructure Protection (GCIP) Beginner level


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