Governance & Risk Management , Operational Technology (OT) , Video

Dragos CEO on Opening Execs' Eyes to OT Security Threats

Why COVID-19 Made Leaders Realize Just How Connected OT Networks Really Are
Robert M. Lee, founder and CEO, Dragos (Image: Dragos)

Executives historically underestimated the security risk associated with operational technology based on the erroneous belief that OT networks are highly segmented or air gapped.

See Also: From Data to Decisions: Maximizing Operational Efficiency Through IT-OT Integration

But COVID-19 made executives realize their OT networks are more connected than they previously thought, since operators and engineers could remote into plants and manufacturing lines from home. Dragos CEO Robert M. Lee says more human-operated ransomware hit the industrial side of organizations in 2020 and 2021 than ever before. This happened because OT systems are less protected, and victims tended to pay large ransoms faster to get production moving again (see: Uniform Infrastructure Raises Risk for Industrial Attacks).

"Most executives understand that they've not been investing heavily in the operational technology side of their business, even though that's where they generate all their revenue," Lee says. "It's definitely a focus for them as these environments have become hyper-connected and we've seen more threats. They're putting more focus there, so we're seeing people accelerate and move quicker."

In this video interview with Information Security Media Group, Lee also discusses:

  • How Dragos spent the $200 million in funding it received in 2021;
  • The unique challenges SMBs face in securing OT environments;
  • How Dragos stands apart from Claroty and Nozomi in OT defense.

Lee, a recognized authority in the industrial cybersecurity community, serves on the Department of Energy's Electricity Advisory Committee as the vice chair of the Department of Energy's Grid Resilience for National Security Subcommittee, and he is a member of the World Economic Forum's subcommittees on Cyber Resilience for the Oil and Gas and Electricity communities. Lee began his work in ICS/OT cybersecurity as a U.S. Air Force cyberwarfare operations officer tasked to the National Security Agency, where he identified and analyzed national threats to industrial infrastructure. He went on to build the industrial community's first dedicated monitoring and incident response class at the SANS Institute as well as the industry-recognized cyberthreat intelligence course.

About the Author

Michael Novinson

Michael Novinson

Managing Editor, Business, ISMG

Novinson is responsible for covering the vendor and technology landscape. Prior to joining ISMG, he spent four and a half years covering all the major cybersecurity vendors at CRN, with a focus on their programs and offerings for IT service providers. He was recognized for his breaking news coverage of the August 2019 coordinated ransomware attack against local governments in Texas as well as for his continued reporting around the SolarWinds hack in late 2020 and early 2021.

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