I am very excited to join forces with Siemens to extend zero trust into OT and disrupt the traditional OT security mindset. Now, Zscaler and Siemens product and sales teams together are taking OT security to the next level, addressing a significant customer challenge to balance factory digitalization with the increasing severity of cyberthreats. You can read more in our press release about the specifics of the joint zero trust OT solutions we built.
Why us and why now? Well, we’ve heard from our customers how Zscaler has transformed their IT infrastructure, showing that the firewall-based legacy castle-and-moat architecture is no longer the safest and most secure approach. Many industrial customers who use Zscaler for IT digital transformation asked us if our zero trust approach to security could help them in the factory to improve uptime and increase people and plant safety. Furthermore, as the world leader that empowers industrial giants, Siemens is perfectly positioned to pioneer the OT/IT convergence and accelerate factory digitalization through a path paved with zero trust foundations.
Let’s look a little more closely at why customers are having this struggle between preserving security and modernizing their OT network. Typically, regulations like the IEC62443 suggest industrial networks separate themselves completely from the internet. The thought is that a lack of connectivity could prevent hackers from finding OT assets and hijacking them to gain unfettered access to the OT network, moving laterally to high-value assets until they can execute their ultimate objective. However, perpetual isolation from the internet prevents factories from taking advantage of Industry 4.0 initiatives like automation, AI/ML, cloud-delivered products, and other innovations that could help factories produce greater output at lower cost.
It does not make sense for industrial companies to stay forever in the dark ages of an air-gapped state. To do so would lead to unacceptable stagnation. Instead, as a leading security company and manufacturing powerhouse, respectively, Zscaler and Siemens feel progress must be made to help factories become globally connected while drastically reducing cyber risk.
Through our partnership, customers deploying industrial edge devices from Siemens, like the SCALANCE LPE, can connect to them from anywhere in the world over any network connection using the most secure architecture: zero trust via Zscaler’s Zero Trust Exchange. Powered by 150+ data centers worldwide, our multi-tenant cloud security service creates a fully encrypted connection between user and OT edge device. Each connection is brokered by the corporate policies set in the exchange, and creates a user identity-based micro tunnel between user and asset, rather than placing the user on the OT network. Compared with traditional network-based OT remote access solutions, this fully SaaS-based approach eliminates the attack surface, making it challenging for the bad guys to find and exploit OT assets and then move laterally about the network. In addition, Zscaler has a global cloud that scales much faster than any other OT secure remote access solution in the market today.
What’s most exciting is not just the emergence of new security technologies but also new approaches that change the way people think and alter their assumptions. Almost always, customers find when they look at their networks through the lens of zero trust instead of castle-and-moat, they become more secure, users have a better experience, and they can reduce cost substantially, freeing up funds to be spent on growing the business. With technologies like the SCALANCE LPE and Zscaler Private Access, Siemens sellers can offer joint customers a path to OT and IT convergence through strong security. The combined solution helps customers digitally modernize their factories to obtain a higher output and a better bottom line.
I invite you to learn more about the solution by visiting the Zscaler Private Access for OT page on our website as well as learn how zero trust can be used as part of a defense-in-depth strategy by reading our whitepaper titled 3 Essential Zero Trust Principles for Reducing Security Risk in OT Environments.