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

SearchCompliance

  • smart contract

    A smart contract, also known as a cryptocontract, is a computer program that directly controls the transfer of digital currencies...

  • 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. A...

  • internal audit (IA)

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

SearchSecurity

SearchHealthIT

SearchDisasterRecovery

  • incident management plan (IMP)

    An incident management plan (IMP), sometimes called an incident response plan or emergency management plan, is a document that ...

  • crisis communication

    Crisis communication is a method of corresponding with people and organizations during a disruptive event to provide them with ...

  • Zerto

    Zerto is a storage software vendor that specializes in enterprise-class business continuity and disaster recovery in virtual and ...

SearchStorage

  • network-attached storage (NAS)

    Network-attached storage (NAS) is dedicated file storage that enables multiple users and heterogeneous client devices to retrieve...

  • SSD write cycle

    An SSD write cycle is the process of programming data to a NAND flash memory chip in a solid-state storage device.

  • data storage

    Data storage is the collective methods and technologies that capture and retain digital information on electromagnetic, optical ...

Close