Core Principles of an ICS Cybersecurity Program

by Krish Sridhar, P.E, GSEC, MBA

The design and implementation of Industrial Control Systems (ICS) cybersecurity program poses
significant challenges due to the stringent requirements of a manufacturing plant and how control
systems and their networks are engineered, operated and maintained. While industry has made
significant strides in gaining awareness and applying resources to address these requirements, many
organizations have also come to realize that implementing cybersecurity measures in the ICS
environment – also referred to as Operations Technology or OT, is challenging and quite different from
implementing cybersecurity in the enterprise IT environment. Many of the concepts proven and
accepted in enterprise IT are either too difficult and/or complex to execute or simply not relevant to the
operating environment. Guidance provide by the NIST framework and other publications are helpful to
getting started, and experience also dictates that there are a core set of cybersecurity elements for the
ICS environment that must be done right. This paper highlights the uniqueness of the ICS environment
and offers core principles for a successful development and launch of an ICS cybersecurity program.

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