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Will you be attending the 2017 RSA conference this month? Do you like information technology (IT)? Do you like operational technology (OT)? Do you like critical infrastructure and security?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, then I’d love to meet you at my Learning Lab session at RSA 2017 where I’ll be facilitating discussions about the design challenges of integrating IT and OT for critical infrastructure security.

The idea of various critical infrastructure sectors starting to integrate their information technology networks with operational technology networks is not new. Indeed, this convergence of disparate technology is occurring at a rapid pace. In the very near future, we as society will be surrounded by cyber physical systems of all types in all kinds of places.

This ongoing convergence of virtual and physical systems will actually provide much benefit to society, from individuals to the largest organizations. The list of potential benefits is huge, however, there is also a list of potential negative impacts, and cybersecurity issues are definitely on the naughty list.

From an enterprise’s perspective, IT and OT convergence can lead to many types of cybersecurity challenges. The goal of my learning lab at the RSA conference this year is to facilitate discussions with practitioners involved with IT and OT and their integration. We will start the discussion with a brief primer and scenario based on a traditional and common integration scenario.

Then, the lab will move forward and peak into the near future where the integration challenges will actually be much more difficult than today. The integrated industrial and critical infrastructure technology of tomorrow will be very different from our classical/traditional counterparts of today.

The cloud, mobile computing, wireless technologies, and new application and communication paradigms will cause us to rethink the current standard processes of securing integrated IT/OT systems. This portion of the lab should be exciting and very thought-provoking.

My goal for the learning lab is to provide at least a small nugget of new knowledge for everyone who attends. IT administrators will learn something new about their OT colleagues and vice versa. Executives will learn something about how to bring IT and OT together more effectively. Researchers will discover open research questions. Entrepreneurs will find new and exciting business opportunities.

So, if you are hanging out at the RSA conference in San Francisco this year and these topics sound interesting to you, please drop by. You can find out more and reserve your seat at the RSAC 2017 website.

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