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What’s in store in 2024 for cybersecurity, AI, and securely bridging the IT/OT gap

Dec. 28, 2023
Desiree Lee, CTO for data at Armis, weighs in on what’s ahead for the top industrial data threats of the time as well as some of the security and asset intelligence opportunities.

This article is the second of a five-part series that, in the next two weeks, will call on subject matter experts to look ahead to digital transformation and manufacturing trends in 2024.

Also next month, please watch for Smart Industry's annual Crystal Ball Report, available to members as a downloadable e-handbook, from a larger group of experts who also forecast "smart" manufacturing milestones in the coming year.

With cyberwarfare flaring in 2023 against noted manufacturers such as Clorox and Boeing, not to mention against others like tech companies (notably the $350 million attack on TMobile and another on Sony), several of Smart Industry’s “Crystal Ballers” are predicting continued skirmishes in 2024, more focus on technologies to prevent these attacks, and the role new government cybersecurity reporting rules will play in how companies structure their defenses and reporting practices.

One such prognosticator for SI this year is Desiree Lee, who is chief technology officer for data at Armis, which markets an asset intelligence platform designed to address the new threat landscape across IT, cloud and IoT devices, medical devices, operational technology (OT), industrial control systems, and even mobile tech 5G. One of Armis’ chief missions is to guard industry against compromise from cyberattacks.

See also: The Crystal Ball Report 2024: A preview podcast

Lee also had thoughts about AI’s implementation future and bridging the IT and OT gap, two more of SI's prime topics to cover in 2024. She primarily focused on the cyber threat landscape going into the new year.

“As we step into 2024, the field of cybersecurity is undergoing significant transformations—amongst them vulnerability management has emerged as a critical component in safeguarding organizations from threats,” Lee said.

“In 2024, we will see increased investment in vulnerability teams as companies navigate the exponential increase in connected assets, a growing number of common vulnerabilities and exposures (CVEs), and longer time-to-resolution.”

Traditionally, Lee observed, there has been an internal asymmetry on investment inside the security department, where vulnerability teams have been underserved, while SOC teams were overwhelmed with security tooling, averaging 76 tools a company.

“But in recent times, we have witnessed a surge in interest in cybersecurity tooling for vulnerability prioritization and remediation, and we expect much more to come,” she added. “Data from Armis’ State of Cyberwarfare and trends report 2022-2023 brought to light that more than 70% of IT and security professionals foresee their organization investing in vulnerability management either immediately or within the next six months.”

See also: Security implications of hastily implemented AI

The traditional vulnerability management workflow, which had remained largely unchanged for the past 15 years, is no longer sufficient, Lee argued.

“Vulnerability teams have been heavily reliant on simple tools as scanners,” she added. “The advent of vulnerability prioritization and remediation promises to better address the current landscape by enabling organizations to allocate resources more efficiently, ultimately enhancing their security posture.”

Here are some more of Lee’s observations:

In the next two years, vulnerability teams will increasingly prioritize understanding exploitability and gaining a more comprehensive view of their risk for each asset in the environment.

“One of the fundamental shifts occurring in vulnerability management is the recognition that a more complete understanding of risk is needed,” she said.

See also: Process shortcomings a high hurdle for phasing in AI, survey finds

“Instead of randomly chasing and remediating CVEs without context, organizations are realizing the importance of considering asset characteristics as exploitability into the equation. Questions like, ‘Is an asset supporting critical business applications?’ and ‘Is the CVE actively weaponized?’ are becoming central to decision-making and can only be answered by understanding the context of each asset.”

As artificial intelligence gears up, companies are still racing to build the foundations needed to derive intelligence from data, Lee observed. “This upcoming year companies will look for a unified source of information that can become the foundation to automated orchestration and streamlined workflows, truly bring insights, and drive business decision-making.”

See also: Industrial Applications of Generative AI: A Smart Industry eBook

“While AI has become the focal point for many technological advancements, the reality is that for most companies the race is not yet in deploying these technologies,” she added. “The race is in gaining the necessary foundations to do so. Chief information security officers (CISOs) have been talking about data-driven decisions and intelligence for a long time but are still struggling to achieve it due to fragmented data and segmented views of their environment.”

Lee also predicted that, in 2024, “there will be a concerted push to integrate technology solutions that bridge the gap between IT and OT in critical infrastructure, ensuring legacy OT technology part to our most critical systems in society is secured and all assets are remediated accordingly.”

About the Author

Scott Achelpohl

I've come to Smart Industry after stints in business-to-business journalism covering U.S. trucking and transportation for FleetOwner, a sister website and magazine of SI’s at Endeavor Business Media, and branches of the U.S. military for Navy League of the United States. I'm a graduate of the University of Kansas and the William Allen White School of Journalism with many years of media experience inside and outside B2B journalism. I'm a wordsmith by nature, and I edit Smart Industry and report and write all kinds of news and interactive media on the digital transformation of manufacturing.