Browse Definitions:
Definition

operational technology (OT)

Contributor(s): Matthew Haughn

Operational technology (OT) is a category of hardware and software that monitors and controls how physical devices perform.

In the past, OT was used primarily in industrical control systems for manufacturing, transportation and utilities -- and unlike information technology (IT), the technology that controlled operations in those industries was not networked. Many of the tools for monitoring or making adjustments to physical devices were mechanical and those that did have digital controls used closed, proprietary protocols.

Today, however, as physical devices are becoming "smart," there is an increasing trend toward IT/OT convergence. Wireless connectivity has provided administrators in charge of operational technology with better monitoring systems and the ability to control physical devices remotely. Advances in machine-to-machine (M2M) communication and machine learning have created a sea change, allowing the data that physical devices produce to be analyzed in real time in order to facilitate autonomy, allow preventive maintenance and improve up-time.

As Internet-capable technology has moved into industrial control systems and supervisory control and data acquisitions (SCADA) networks. However, operations technology faces the same malware, identity management and access control security challenges that IT faces. The difference is that vulnerabilities in an OT system can leave critical infrastructure at risk of sabotage that can result in life or death situations if not addressed. 

This was last updated in March 2016

Continue Reading About operational technology (OT)

Join the conversation

1 comment

Send me notifications when other members comment.

By submitting you agree to receive email from TechTarget and its partners. If you reside outside of the United States, you consent to having your personal data transferred to and processed in the United States. Privacy

Please create a username to comment.

Is a fire alarm system considered a operational technology system, and in addition to that would a radio frequency based fire alarm signaling system be considered a operational technology system, The national fire protection agency defines the systems as life safety systems and subject to mandatory codes and standards set by the N.F.P.A. which then become law when adopted by the local jurisdiction.
Cancel

-ADS BY GOOGLE

File Extensions and File Formats

Powered by:

SearchCompliance

SearchSecurity

  • copyright

    Copyright is a legal term describing ownership of control of the rights to the use and distribution of certain works of creative ...

  • keylogger (keystroke logger or system monitor)

    A keylogger, sometimes called a keystroke logger or system monitor, is a type of surveillance technology used to monitor and ...

  • password

    A password is an unspaced sequence of characters used to determine that a computer user requesting access to a computer system is...

SearchHealthIT

SearchDisasterRecovery

  • business continuity plan (BCP)

    A business continuity plan (BCP) is a document that consists of the critical information an organization needs to continue ...

  • call tree

    A call tree -- sometimes referred to as a phone tree -- is a telecommunications chain for notifying specific individuals of an ...

  • mass notification system (MNS)

    A mass notification system is a platform that sends one-way messages to inform employees and the public of an emergency.

SearchStorage

  • RAID (redundant array of independent disks)

    RAID (redundant array of independent disks) is a way of storing the same data in different places on multiple hard disks to ...

  • data migration

    Data migration is the process of transferring data between data storage systems, data formats or computer systems.

  • compact disc (CD)

    A compact disc is a portable storage medium that can be used for recording, storing and playing back audio, video and other data ...

SearchSolidStateStorage

  • NVMe (non-volatile memory express)

    NVMe (non-volatile memory express) is a host controller interface and storage protocol to enable a solid-state drive to use the ...

  • SSD RAID (solid-state drive RAID)

    SSD RAID (solid-state drive RAID) is a methodology commonly used to protect data by distributing redundant data blocks across ...

  • Tier 0

    Tier 0 (tier zero) is a level of data storage that is faster, and perhaps more expensive, than any other level in the storage ...

SearchCloudStorage

  • RESTful API

    A RESTful application program interface breaks down a transaction to create a series of small modules, each of which addresses an...

  • cloud storage infrastructure

    Cloud storage infrastructure is the hardware and software framework that supports the computing requirements of a private or ...

  • Zadara VPSA and ZIOS

    Zadara Storage provides block, file or object storage with varying levels of compute and capacity through its ZIOS and VPSA ...

Close