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

  • risk map (risk heat map)

    A risk map, also known as a risk heat map, is a data visualization tool for communicating specific risks an organization faces.

  • internal audit (IA)

    An internal audit (IA) is an organizational initiative to monitor and analyze its own business operations in order to determine ...

  • pure risk (absolute risk)

    Pure risk, also called absolute risk, is a category of threat that is beyond human control and has only one possible outcome if ...

SearchSecurity

  • FIDO (Fast Identity Online)

    FIDO (Fast ID Online) is a set of technology-agnostic security specifications for strong authentication. FIDO is developed by the...

  • cryptanalysis

    Cryptanalysis is the study of ciphertext, ciphers and cryptosystems with the aim of understanding how they work and finding and ...

  • Trojan horse (computing)

    In computing, a Trojan horse is a program that appears harmless, but is, in fact, malicious.

SearchHealthIT

SearchDisasterRecovery

  • business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR)

    Business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR) are closely related practices that describe an organization's preparation for ...

  • 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 ...

SearchStorage

  • cloud SLA (cloud service-level agreement)

    A cloud SLA (cloud service-level agreement) is an agreement between a cloud service provider and a customer that ensures a ...

  • wear leveling

    Wear leveling is a process that is designed to extend the life of solid-state storage devices.

  • storage area network (SAN)

    A storage area network (SAN) is a dedicated high-speed network or subnetwork that interconnects and presents shared pools of ...

SearchSolidStateStorage

  • hybrid hard disk drive (HDD)

    A hybrid hard disk drive is an electromechanical spinning hard disk that contains some amount of NAND Flash memory.

Close