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ABB and IBM partner in cybersecurity and OT drive

ABB and IBM have confirmed a strategic partnership to focus on connecting cybersecurity and operational technology.

|Oct 19|magazine6 min read

As a result of this collaboration, ABB has created a new OT Security Event Monitoring Service that mixes ABB’s process control system domain expertise with IBM’s security event monitoring portfolio to enable improved security for industrial operators. 

Industrial control system environments are increasingly targeted in cyber-attacks. IBM’s latest X-Force Threat Intelligence Index found that attacks on industrial and manufacturing facilities rose over 2000% since 2018. 

In a bid to better connect OT data with the broader IT security ecosystem, ABB has developed a new offering that allows security events from ABB to be sent to IBM’s security information and event management platform known as QRadar.

The ABB solution was created according to a reference architecture jointly developed by ABB and IBM. This provides the domain knowledge required to quickly react to security incidents related to process control and is particularly suited for complex industrial processes in industries such as oil, gas, chemicals and mining. The new event collection and forwarding software which enables this integration is currently being used by early adopter customers and will be made widely available by ABB in the next few months.

“ABB’s collaboration with IBM makes it possible to analyze process control events in the context of security and impact to the operational environment, delivering strong improvement in our OT cyber threat visibility across the board,” commented Robert Putman, Global Manager of Cyber Security for Industrial Automation at ABB.

Disruption of production as a result of a cyberattack or technical glitches can be expensive as a result of lost production and damage to physical assets. Most mature operational monitoring is focused on the performance of the asset, whether it be a gas turbine for electricity, a drive system used to crush ore or simple monitoring of pollution output from a chemical facility.

The new ABB offering enables ABB’s Process Control System data collection and forwarding technology to harvest event log detail from ABB process control systems and share that information with IBM Security QRadar, which leverages automation and AI to help identify security anomalies and potential threats. 

“We see the integration of these solutions as bringing market-leading capabilities together for a singular view of OT security,” commented Dr. Andreas Kühmichel, CTO, Chemicals, Petroleum & Industrial Products, IBM. “With more comprehensive OT and IT security visibility, clients can help reduce the risk of production being suddenly interrupted due to a security event and mean costly downtime and broader risk to the company.”

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