Backups are an essential element in a holistic IT and OT security strategy, especially for industrial facilities. In the context of operational technology (OT), which is responsible for controlling and monitoring industrial processes, backing up means making copies of important data stored on OT devices and industrial facilities and keeping them in a separate storage system in a data center or in the cloud. Backups of this kind can be performed at varying intervals and with different strategies and are a key component of any robust IT and OT security strategy. In the context of operational technology (OT) and industrial facilities, backing up includes saving configuration data belonging to devices and control systems as well as production-relevant data such as measurement and production data.
But while backups are standard practice in conventional information technology at most businesses, regardless of size or industry, a lot of enterprises haven’t yet adopted OT backups, which are significantly more difficult to do. This is because OT environments are not usually uniformly equipped. Instead, they deploy a variety of standards and different hardware components, supporting different bus systems and operating systems, including proprietary and hybrid ones.
OT backups safeguard business continuity by allowing the most recent working version of system data to be restored rapidly in the event of a system failure. This reduces operational interruptions and enables a quick return to normal operations. Ideally, regular backups reduce the risk of data loss, which can be caused by a whole range of factors, including human error, technical problems, sabotage, and cyberattacks. Furthermore, many industries have legal and regulatory provisions and requirements governing data backup and storage. An efficient backup system makes it easier for businesses to meet these requirements and avoid potential prosecution.
OT backups are therefore essential for reliable and fast disaster recoverybecause the data they protect is essential for efficient operation, monitoring, and improving processes. Data loss or the failure of these systems can cause major business interruptions, high costs, and damage to a business. Data protection in OT devices and digitized industrial plants is therefore an important aspect of risk management and business continuity in any modern industrial enterprise. It enables businesses to protect their operations, meet regulatory requirements, and build trust among their customers and partners. It’s therefore vital that technical and business leaders in the industry recognize the importance and benefits of backups and implement adequate strategies and solutions that meet their backup needs.