State of ICS Security in the Age of Cloud by CSA

Introduction

Goal
This document aims to create awareness and share insights on the benefits of leveraging cloud
computing for Industrial Control Systems (ICS) and Operational Technology (OT). It also attempts to
stimulate discussion within the industry to communicate, exchange thoughts, debate, conclude, and
share the outcomes with the ICS Working Group community.

Audience
The intended audience includes the critical infrastructure sector, commercial organizations, ICS
suppliers, and service providers. This includes cloud service providers, cybersecurity service providers,
and managed security service providers, who apply and use ICS in their crucial business processes.
Overview
Critical infrastructure protection involves activities that enhance the cybersecurity and physical
security of public and private infrastructures that are critical to national and economic security, and
public health and safety. Because a large percentage of the world’s critical infrastructures is owned
and operated by the private sector, and public/private partnerships are crucial for successful critical
infrastructure protection.

ICS owners face threats from highly sophisticated global adversaries with intent to disrupt critical
functions, and have increasingly become more agile and persistent. Ransomware against ICS
systems has become prevalent as well as the exploitation of data through intelligence collection
using spyware and injection of malicious code into vulnerable systems.
These critical infrastructures leveraging OT systems, especially ICS, are an increasingly attractive
target for highly-sophisticated, bad cyber actors around the world. A more worrying trend has
developed with the increased connectivity between IT and ICS (IT-OT convergent). This creates a
potential opportunity for adversaries who are now able to compromise IT systems connected to the
internet, secure their footholds, and move to the ICS to disrupt industrial processes.
A cyberattack resulting in disruption or failure of ICS may cause service disruptions and/or a safety
risk to people and essential services, as well as hefty financial losses. Therefore, the cybersecurity
and resilience of ICS are of utmost importance to society as a whole, utilities and other critical
infrastructure operators, and organizations and industries using ICS.
Building a more stable structure for ICS security could mean significant alterations in how global
systems work and are integrated. The current state of ICS security has great opportunities for
modernization, efficiency, and shared services.

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