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CFI, a new FIC offshoot dedicated to the security of operational technologies

2021/06/28

By Vincent Riou, Partner at Avisa Partners, and CFI Director

Operational technologies (OTs)  are at the heart of our lives. They are used to produce what we consume, transport us, protect us, provide us with energy or clean water, ensure our comfort, feed us, cure us… They help design or manufacture all our everyday objects and equipment and support the development of an increasingly connected world.

These technologies are ubiquitous, but no less vulnerable, and the year 2021 is currently breaking all records. Faced with this gloomy situation, decision-makers—whatever the size of the company concerned—must assess the risk and mobilise to implement the necessary prevention, detection, and reaction measures.

The increase in connections between IT and OT linked to the digitisation of business processes and the explosion of connected industrial objects has drastically increased the attack surface. Systems—often poorly protected or very old—that were previously totally isolated find themselves connected to the company’s IT infrastructure or even exposed on the Internet.

However, the main purpose of IT is to process data. The historical paradigm of cybersecurity has been developed over time to secure the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of this data. In contrast, the function of OT is to control equipment that operates in the physical world: industrial processes, autonomous vehicles, building management systems, traffic lights, pumping stations, engines, security systems, etc. In these environments, the priority is to ensure perfect operating safety. We therefore have two interconnected worlds, faced with common threats, but which do not necessarily speak the same language.

These communities need to meet, exchange, understand each other, and work together on common solutions. The FIC, the benchmark event for digital trust, has therefore decided to create a new offshoot dedicated to the cybersecurity of operational systems, called Cybersecurity for Industry, or CFI.

The main objective of the event is to raise the awareness of decision-makers on the subject, which is an essential prerequisite for action by experts. In the “Cybersecurity for Industry” village located at the heart of the FIC, they will find all the solutions to solve these problems, which are essential to our future, and continuous demonstrations of attack/defence in real environments (water treatment, manufacturing, gas transport, power stations, autonomous vehicles, etc.)to enable visitors to better understand the threat.

All day on 7 September, in an amphitheatre of the Grand Palais, we will be welcoming prominent speakers who will share with us their experience, thoughts, and studies, alongside our partners’ experts.

A wide range of sectors will be covered: energy, transport, pharmaceutical industry, biomedical technologies, manufacturing, supply chain, water treatment, waterways and port management…

These operational technologies rule our lives, more than we can imagine. Securing our industry will foster economic recovery. Securing these operating environments is conducive to protecting our daily lives.

Welcome to Cybersecurity for Industry!