Operation: Secure the North Pole

It’s crunch time. We’re in the final days of the holiday season.  The malls are packed, Amazon Prime vans are on every street and Santa’s workshop is in overdrive.  Prepping for Christmas is no easy task, especially in the North Pole.  Think about it, the workshop isn’t just elves casually building a few toys, but rather a complex manufacturing plant making kiddos dreams come true. 

Now even with all his Christmas magic, Santa’s workshop still requires some heavy machinery and operations.  Santa isn’t new to the toy manufacturing space and neither is his equipment.  And even though he works one day a year, the workshop’s production is in overdrive year-round, leaving little wiggle room for security upgrades.  As the OT-IT convergence magnifies, this creates more concerns than finding coal under the tree. 

Unfortunately, the North Pole isn’t immune to cyberattacks.  From the naughty and nice list to the year’s most popular toys, it’s arguable that the most sensitive data is stored in the North Pole.  And just like Santa is a sucker for cookies, we can’t help ourselves when it comes to sound security plans.  And we’ll be the first to tell you that the North Pole isn’t quite up to snuff to our security standards.

So, while Santa’s checking his list twice, we’re here to help upgrade his security operations.  

Santa’s Security Situation

First, let’s talk about the machines.  The workshop is a complex system from toy production and wrapping to sorting.  Yes, machines are necessary for efficiency and mass production – but coming from a security perspective, these OT setups are leaving large gaps in security.  

Before, OT networks were on their own and operated independently from other networks, but you know that big IoT and IT shift that’s still being talked about?  It’s a growing security problem and it’s impacting OT networks too.  The OT-IT convergence means that these networks are working more interconnected than ever before, and Santa’s workshop is not an exception.

This becomes a security problem due to the seemingly endless number of endpoints that attackers can take advantage of.  They can access the entire network from the backend of the wrapping paper machines and work their way to the internet-connected hot cocoa machine and then it’s just a hop, skip and jump to the naughty and nice list, which is connected to the present building machines.  Then Christmas as we know it is compromised.  Cindy Lou Who herself wouldn’t be able to help. 

Avoiding THE Christmas disaster – Operation: Secure the North Pole is a GO.

Remember that list Santa is working on? We have one too.  Except ours monitors known and unknown devices on the network.  The magic to a sound security plan starts with visibility – all controlled under a unified platform.  Now that isn’t as catchy as “All I Want For Christmas Is You” by Mariah Carey, but trust us, that’s the one secret you need to know for a strong security plan.  

With the unprecedented connection of networks, devices and traffic, it’s necessary to know what/who is connected to the network at any time.  Deploying the right toolset, like Forescout, can provide those real-time insights.  Then use those insights for implementing control, eliminating unauthorized users aka attacker’s ability to steal Christmas.  

When it comes to security, it’s important to remember how both networks – OT and IT – are evolving and now operating interconnected as well as the vulnerabilities the combo create in the environment.  We know Santa’s workshop is one of a kind, but that doesn’t mean that your OT plant isn’t special.  If you’re looking for some help deep diving into your security posture, we’re always here, just give us a call. 

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