Operational technology (OT) and industrial control system (ICS) security are vitally important for the safety of the people who work in critical infrastructure and manufacturing. OT security is also necessary for the consumers of the energy, drinking water, and products made in our industrial facilities. OT security is a unique security domain of growing importance, and yesterday’s announcement of Dragos’ Series C funding round of $110 million is another validation of the strong demand from investors and enterprises alike in the OT security market. Dragos’ latest funding round means that venture capital firms have invested $600M in this space since 2014.
OT security vendors focus solely on the unique mission of reducing cyber risk in operational technology environments and in the industrial control systems that run electric and natural gas utilities, extract and refine raw natural resources, clean our drinking water, assemble the goods and products that sustain and enrich our lives, and automate our modern warehouses. Threats to these systems require unique strategies; you cannot copy and paste existing enterprise IT strategy or controls into an OT environment and expect the same results.
Many orgs still tend to see internet of things and OT as just nonenterprise IT and therefore deserving the same protections. OT security solutions are growing in importance because these solutions enable organizations to help industrial automation engineers and enterprise security teams truly reduce cyber risk of the OT systems running those core business units.
The Dragos funding round follows what has been a busy 2020 in industrial cybersecurity, including such transactions as:
- June 2020 — Microsoft acquires CyberX for an estimated $150M–165M.
- July 2020 — Telefónica Innovation Ventures invests in Nozomi Networks. This is on top of total funding of $54M at the time and follows a partnership agreement with Telefónica’s cybersecurity business ElevenPaths to incorporate Nozomi’s ICS security solution into its managed security services.
- November 2020 — Hexagon acquires PAS for an undisclosed amount.