In serving as the “Voice of Automation,” the Automation Federation and its member organizations and working groups collaborate to advance the science and engineering of automation technologies and applications, and develop the workforce needed to capitalize on the benefits of automation.
As the umbrella and outreach association of the International Society of Automation (ISA)—the developer of the world’s only consensus-based series of industrial cybersecurity standards (ISA/IEC 62443)—the Automation Federation works with government and industrial leaders to mitigate security vulnerabilities of operational technology (OT), namely industrial automation and control systems (IACS).
By specializing in cybersecurity training, certification and research, SANS has developed worldwide expertise and experience in information technology (IT) and OT cybersecurity. The Global Information Assurance Certification’s (GIAC) Global Industrial Cyber Security Professional (GICSP) serves as a foundational certification of skills required to secure infrastructures as IT and OT continue to converge.
In adding SANS as one of its working groups, the Automation Federation takes a step forward in broadening awareness around the need to integrate both operational technology (OT) and information technology (IT) perspectives and expertise in safeguarding IACS from cyberattack.
Understanding the distinctions between IT and OT, and how they can work together is essential to ensure the safe, proper operation of IACS and to prevent potentially catastrophic damage to critical infrastructure as a result of industrial cyberattack.
“The threat of cyberattacks around the world continues to mount,” points out Michael Marlowe, the Automation Federation’s Managing Director and Director of Government Relations. “There is growing recognition that implementing comprehensive cyber-defenses will require best-practice solutions from both IT and OT sectors. The addition of the SANS Institute to our working groups is very exciting because it positions us to make significant progress in this vital area.”
“The SANS Institute, ISA and the Automation Federation have been helping to build the next generation of IACS security workers for years,” says Michael Assante, the SANS lead for Industrial Control System (ICS) and Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) security. “Together we can help organizations and professionals build safer and more secure infrastructures."
Patrick Gouhin, ISA Executive Director & CEO, says the addition of SANS as an Automation Federation working group will foster the meaningful dialogue and mutual understanding necessary for effective collaboration.
“All three organizations recognize the great potential that exists to build on our unique strengths and experience, and approach the threat of industrial cybersecurity in a more comprehensive and integrated manner,” Gouhin says. “SANS’ involvement as an Automation Federation working group is a vital first step toward realizing that potential.”
The SANS Institute joins The Alabama Technology Network, The Propulsion Instrumentation Working Group (PIWG), the Industrial Extension Service of NC State University, Cerritos College, Cleveland Community College, and Northern Virginia Community College as Automation Federation working groups.