Great Bay Software Blog

IT vs. OT in IoT – Connecting the Shop Floor with the Top Floor

Written by Great Bay Software on June 8, 2017

IoT and Industry 4.0 are radically changing the way manufacturers are doing business. There is a trend towards optimizing the manufacturing process through automation, IoT and IT. The real time integration of data from the plant floor and across the supply chain enables highly accurate predictive analytics, leading to a more innovative and competitive organization.


The Challenges of IT vs. OT

Information Technology and Operational Technology teams have traditionally embraced different cultures, objectives and concerns. IT deploys and manages a spectrum of systems such as the data center, communications, networks and enterprise security.

OT organizations are responsible for all aspects of the manufacturing and process control systems, safety and output. Historically, factories have deployed proprietary equipment and protocols – operating independently and separate from enterprise IT.

Now the lines between OT and IT are blurring. The business benefits of highly predictive analytics can only be achieved with the integration of operational and corporate networks, data and systems.

 “This convergence of OT and IT isn’t exactly news; Gartner predicted this back in 2011. However, in more recent years we’ve noticed the scope of Industrial Internet has started to explode into more general connectivity, as opposed to the historically closed systems that relied more heavily on physical security to ensure integrity. With this shift from closed to open systems comes an even greater interdependence and overlap between the two teams and a slew of new security concerns.” [1]


Collaboration is Essential in Addressing Security Risks

IT and OT teams are discovering the need to work together in order to deploy cybersecurity solutions throughout the enterprise; from headquarters to remote locations, and the factory floor.

Typically IT has been more concerned about user access control, which is a minor component in industrial environments, where IoT presents the greatest security risks. Learn more about IoT device security challenges in last month’s post “Is Smart Manufacturing Putting Your IP at Risk?”. The lack of IoT security mechanisms is opening not just the factory, but also the corporate network and data center to greater risk of costly attacks. The discovery, profiling and authentication of all devices and machines in manufacturing plants and in the field is essential.

Manufacturing is a top five target for sophisticated cyberattacks. Hackers are going after intellectual property, financial data and customer information. CIOs report that intellectual property can constitute more than 80% of company value. Now is the time for OT and IT leaders to develop strong partnerships to promote operational efficiency, safety and competitive advantage.


Great Bay Software

Endpoint discovery, visibility and control are fundamental to device security across the entire enterprise. As manufacturers move towards Industry 4.0 Great Bay Software solutions enable IT and OT to collaborate in deploying an integrated solution for every type of network endpoint – from end-user computing to Industrial IoT. Learn more about the Beacon ProductSuite solutions here.


[1] Nisarg Desai,