Improving asset visibility and vulnerability detection on federal operational technology (OT) networks is no longer a “nice to have” — it’s a must have. The Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency’s (CISA) Binding Operational Directive (BOD) 23-01 created compulsory baseline requirements for Federal Civilian Executive Branch (FCEB) agencies to identify assets and vulnerabilities on their networks and provide updates to CISA. Check out this blog for more information: Improving Asset Visibility and Vulnerability Detection on Federal Operational Technology (OT) Networks

Likewise, taking a Zero Trust approach to federal networks is mandated by the Cybersecurity Executive Order (E.O. 14028) in response to the growing number of cyberattacks against government agencies, critical infrastructure and other companies.

Implementing the capabilities to meet these requirements is a journey for any organization. In addition to training personnel, this journey requires an understanding of the processes needed to effectively implement the technologies. Just as E.O. 14028 calls on the U.S. government and private sector work together to better protect themselves from current threats through collaboration and innovation, an innovative and collaborative solution has been delivered to help the Department of Defense and federal organizations understand how to take a zero trust approach to securing Industrial Control Systems / Operational Technology (ICS/OT).

DreamPort ICS/OT Lab

This month Cisco will officially unveil a new, comprehensive ICS/OT lab built on Zero Trust principles at U.S. Cyber Command’s DreamPort facility in Maryland. The state-of-the-art lab is the development of a new partnership between Cisco, Cykor (a Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business) and the Maryland Innovation and Security Institute (MISI).

The completion of the lab will enhance the expansion of MISI’s ICS/OT workforce training, academic engagement, and cybersecurity test, evaluation, and cyber exercise capabilities. The new capabilities will extend the MISI Defense Industrial Base cyber resilience rapid testing and prototyping for sectors such as manufacturing, maritime cyber, electric grid and continue the study of zero trust solutions for critical infrastructure.

The DreamPort ICS/OT lab opportunity was identified through Cisco’s Country Digital Acceleration (CDA) program, which provides partnerships with national leadership, industry & academia to help accelerate national digitization, growth, create new jobs and provide innovation and education across public & private sectors – the mission: powering an inclusive future for all.

Features of the Lab

The design of the DreamPort ICS/OT Lab encompasses a modern Industrial Architecture that integrates security operations across the enterprise and industrial networks—providing significant enterprise security capabilities into the industrial network.

Using Cisco and Cykor technology, the Security Operations Center (SOC) will be enriched with additional insights into and controls over the industrial network. Cisco provides the most comprehensive Industrial and Enterprise Networking and Security capabilities—including validated architectures for extending Zero Trust Security to industrial workplaces.

DreamPort will Support Closing the Cyber Skills Gap

It’s estimated that the U.S. faces approximately 700,000 vacancies in cyber-enabled jobs; this is a 21st-century crisis that constitutes a near- and long-term threat. Cisco is committed to training and developing the future cyber workforce and is doing so through successful programs like the Cisco Networking Academy, which for 25 years has been educating learners globally on the skills they need to compete in critical focus areas like cybersecurity. The state-of-the-art DreamPort lab – with cutting edge technology from Cisco and CyKor – will be another important asset in plugging the cyber gap and advancing our nation’s cybersecurity capabilities and strengths.

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Andy Stewart

Senior Federal Strategist

Public Safety & Defense