OT Cybersecurity Framework: All You Need to Know

OT Cybersecurity Framework

There’s a new player in the cybersecurity field that goes by the name of OT security. But what is OT security, and why do we need it? Let’s take a closer look.

OT security is all about protecting industrial control systems (ICS) from cyberattacks. These systems are used to manage everything from water and electricity to manufacturing plants and transportation.

In the past, ICS were mostly isolated from the internet and other external networks. But as they’ve become more connected, they’ve become more vulnerable to attack.

That’s where OT security comes in. It’s designed to protect these systems from the ever-growing threat of cyberattacks.

Implementing a comprehensive OT security framework is the best way to protect ICS. This framework should include policies, procedures, and controls designed for OT systems.

When it comes to OT security, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. The needs of each organization will vary depending on the OT systems in place.

But there are some common OT security best practices that all organizations should follow, such as:

  • Conducting regular risk assessments
  • Separating OT and IT networks
  • Implementing security controls at all levels
  • Monitoring network traffic for suspicious activity

To know more about OT cybersecurity, you can refer to some OT cybersecurity online guides. You will learn in detail what OT cyber security is, how it helps enhance industrial cyber security, OT cyber security best practices, and other concepts related to OT security.

There are several types of OT cybersecurity frameworks you can implement

Types of OT cybersecurity frameworks

  1. MITRE ATT&CK Framework 

The MITRE ATT&CK framework is a globally-accessible tool for measuring an organization’s cybersecurity posture. The framework enables security professionals to:

  • map out attacks, 
  • anticipate adversary tactics, and 
  • measure their own effectiveness in defending against those tactics. 

The framework is divided into nine categories, each representing a different stage of an attack.

  • Reconnaissance 
  • Initial access
  • Execution
  • Persistence 
  • Privilege escalation
  • Defense evasion
  • Credential access 
  • Discovery
  • Lateral movement 

Within each category are several specific tactics that adversaries may use. 

For each tactic, the framework provides information on the techniques that can be used to execute it and the mitigations that can be put in place to defend against it. The framework is constantly being updated as new attack techniques are developed and old ones evolve. As such, it represents an invaluable resource for anyone looking to measure and improve their organization’s cybersecurity posture.

  1. NIST Framework 

The National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Cybersecurity Framework (“the Framework”) is a set of industry standards and best practices for cybersecurity. It was developed in response to an Executive Order issued by President Obama in February 2013, which called for developing a voluntary set of standards to help organizations better protect themselves against cyber threats. 

The Framework is not mandatory. But, it provides a useful guide for businesses of all sizes to improve their cybersecurity posture. The Framework consists of five core categories. 

  • Identify
  • Protect 
  • Detect 
  • Respond 
  • Recover 

Each category contains a set of subcategories that describe specific cybersecurity activities. 

For example, under the “Identify” category, organizations are encouraged to assess their cybersecurity risks and understand their assets and data. Under the “Protect” category, organizations are advised to implement controls to reduce their risks. 

And under the “Respond” category, organizations are supposed to have plans in place to address incidents when they occur. Ultimately, the framework aims to help businesses make informed decisions about cybersecurity investments and operations.

  1. CISA CSF Framework 

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) is a United States federal agency created to protect critical infrastructure from cyber attacks. The agency’s mission is “to secure the nation’s critical infrastructure and information systems against threats to our national security, economy, and way of life.” CISA accomplishes its mission by working with partners to identify, assess, and mitigate risks to cyberspace and critical infrastructure. CISA does this by developing and sharing cybersecurity risk management frameworks.

The CISA Cybersecurity Framework (CSF) is one such framework. It provides a flexible and tailorable approach for organizations to manage their cybersecurity risks. It is comprised of three components.

  • Identifying assets and risks 
  • Implementing controls to mitigate risks
  • Monitoring risks and controls over time 

The CSF also includes references to existing standards, guidelines, and practices that organizations can use to help them implement the framework. Organizations can use the CSF to improve their cybersecurity posture while protecting their systems and data from cyber threats.

  1. NCSC Cyber Security Framework 

The National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence (NCCoE) is a center of excellence within the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). The NCCoE applies standards, measurements, and best practices to accelerate the adoption of innovative cybersecurity solutions. 

The NCSC is a non-profit organization. It develops security standards and guidance for businesses, government agencies, and educational institutions. The Framework is part of the larger NCSC Cybersecurity Framework. The goal of the Cybersecurity Framework is to help organizations manage cyber risks. 

The Framework provides a flexible and adaptable approach to cybersecurity. It is designed to be used by organizations of all sizes and across all industries. The Framework consists of three parts: the Core, Profiles, and Tiers. 

The Core is a set of common cybersecurity activities, outcomes, and informative references across all sectors. The Profiles describe how an organization can select specific strategies and controls to achieve desired cybersecurity outcomes in light of business needs and risk tolerances. The Tiers provide a mechanism for organizations to express their level of maturity in applying the Core. 

Each part of the Framework is important, but they are not intended to be used in isolation. Together, they provide a comprehensive approach to managing cyber risks.

  1. CIS Critical Security Controls ICS Companion Guide

The CIS Critical Security Controls ICS Companion Guide is a set of security controls specifically designed for industrial control systems (ICS) environments. The guide includes implementing the controls in order to protect ICS assets from cyber threats. 

The guide is based on the CIS Control Framework, a recognized cybersecurity industry standard. The ICS Companion Guide builds upon the CIS Controls Framework by providing additional guidance and resources for ICS environments. 

The CIS Critical Security Controls ICS Companion Guide aims to help organizations improve their cybersecurity posture by implementing best practices for protecting ICS assets.

  1. Industrial Internet Security Framework by Industrial IoT Consortium 

The Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC) is an organization that promotes the use of the internet in industrial settings. One of the ways they do this is by developing standards and frameworks for industrial internet security. 

The IIC’s Industrial Internet Security Framework (IISF) is a set of guidelines for companies that want to ensure the safety and security of their industrial internet-connected devices and systems. 

The framework covers four main areas. 

  • Risk management 
  • Access control
  • Data security 
  • Network security 

Following the guidelines, companies can help protect their devices and systems from cyber threats.


The OT cybersecurity framework provides a structure for organizations to follow when it comes to securing their OT networks and devices. By understanding the different types of frameworks available, you can decide which is best suited for your organization. 

If you’re looking for more information on the OT cybersecurity framework or would like help implementing one in your business, you can get in touch with various OT security vendors and choose the one best suited to your needs.

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