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

  • PCAOB (Public Company Accounting Oversight Board)

    The Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) is a Congressionally-established nonprofit that assesses audits of public ...

  • cyborg anthropologist

    A cyborg anthropologist is an individual who studies the interaction between humans and technology, observing how technology can ...

  • RegTech

    RegTech, or regulatory technology, is a term used to describe technology that is used to help streamline the process of ...

SearchSecurity

  • spear phishing

    Spear phishing is an email-spoofing attack that targets a specific organization or individual, seeking unauthorized access to ...

  • supercookie

    A supercookie is a type of tracking cookie inserted into an HTTP header by an internet service provider to collect data about a ...

  • email spam

    Email spam, or junk email, is unsolicited bulk messages sent through email with commercial, fraudulent or malicious intent.

SearchHealthIT

SearchDisasterRecovery

  • 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.

  • disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS)

    One approach to a strong disaster recovery plan is DRaaS, where companies offload data replication and restoration ...

SearchStorage

  • GlusterFS (Gluster File System)

    GlusterFS (Gluster File System) is an open source distributed file system that can scale out in building-block fashion to store ...

  • virtual memory

    Virtual memory is a memory management capability of an OS that allows a computer to compensate for physical memory shortages by ...

  • yottabyte (YB)

    A yottabyte is a measure of theoretical storage capacity and is 2 to the 80th power bytes, or, in decimal, approximately 1,000 ...

SearchSolidStateStorage

  • PCIe SSD (PCIe solid-state drive)

    A PCIe SSD (PCIe solid-state drive) is a high-speed expansion card that attaches a computer to its peripherals.

  • SSD caching

    SSD caching, also known as flash caching, is the temporary storage of data on NAND flash memory chips in a solid-state drive so ...

  • NVDIMM (Non-Volatile Dual In-line Memory Module)

    An NVDIMM (non-volatile dual in-line memory module) is hybrid computer memory that retains data during a service outage.

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