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Forescout 8.1: Going Beyond IT Networks to Help Secure Your Business Operations

Sandeep Kumar | April 3, 2019

Gartner expects 25 billion internet-connected things by 2021 1. These things represent tremendous opportunity for businesses to innovate and automate to deliver new services and drive operational efficiency.

  • In healthcare, smart devices monitor patient health—both in and out of the hospital—and are connected to clinical monitoring services and consumer wellness apps
  • In manufacturing, sensors take the guesswork out of maintenance planning by feeding data into applications that predict failure times and enable optimized service scheduling to preserve uptime
  • In transportation, instruments with monitoring applications help assure passenger and operator safety by keeping constant tabs on complex machinery and the environmental ecosystem

McKinsey Global Institute predicts that this linking of the physical and digital worlds could generate up to a whopping $11.1 trillion a year in economic value by 2025.

But there’s a catch.

To realize this value, you have to facilitate brand new data flows between traditional campus IT devices, cloud-based applications, enterprise IoT devices and operational technology (OT) systems. In short, previously disparate IT and OT networks need to operate as one interconnected fabric.

This in turn creates a whole new class of security risks. Unscrupulous cybercriminals—both internal and external—can now move laterally across your interconnected IT and OT networks and gain access to sensitive information or intellectual property. A simple oversight such as a misconfigured device or unsanctioned data flows can leave organizations equally vulnerable, disrupt business operations and causing immense financial impact.

Moving beyond an IT-only mindset

To handle these new and increasing threats requires a change in the cultural and organizational mindset. IT must take a leadership role in securing business operations. This requires taking responsibility for more than just “IT systems” and extending their purview to ensure that any connected device enabling a business operation is adequately protected.

The stakes are high. A smart device monitoring a patient’s heart condition goes down. A manufacturing line stops unexpectedly. Environmental controls in mining, drilling or rapid transit operations shut down. Revenue, critical infrastructure, even lives could be at stake.

This is a hefty responsibility, and it’s one CIOs are stepping up to take on. Gartner predicts that by 2023, the average CIO will be responsible for more than three times the endpointsthey managed in 2018 2. This is partially due to the growth in IoT and OT devices, but also because CIOs will be responsible for devices they don’t manage and protect today.

To successfully take on this challenge will require organizational collaboration with operational and business leadership. This shift will also demand more from the technologies that IT and security teams rely on—to get the insights they need to make informed decisions.

That’s where Forescout comes in. We help organizations gain visibility and control of all devices connecting to their converging IT and OT networks.

Forescout 8.1 paves the way for IT-OT convergence

I’m very excited about the latest version of the Forescout platform. Our R&D teams have delivered innovative new features that help you manage and mitigate risk in an increasingly converged world. In addition, we accelerated our OT innovation with the acquisition and fast integration of SecurityMatters technology. These game-changing capabilities demonstrate Forescout’s commitment to leading the way in IT-OT convergence. Forescout 8.1 highlights include:

  • Enterprise scale: At Forescout we’re always looking for the next challenge. We already have several customers with active deployments of more than 1 million devices. With the expanding responsibility of CIOs and CISOs, this number is bound to go up. To address this trend, we now offer unparalleled scale of 2 million devices in a single deployment whether your physical or virtual devices are in the campus, data center, cloud or OT networks.
  • Unified IT-OT platform: We took the same future-looking approach to IT and OT convergence. We’ve incorporated OT device discovery, asset classification and vulnerability assessment from our SecurityMatters acquisition into the core Forescout platform. We’ve also integrated with the Belden industrial switching portfolio to provide expanded visibility and control in OT networks. This provides you the same line of sight into OT devices as your IT devices, making Forescout 8.1 the industry’s first unified device visibility and control platform for converging IT and OT networks.
  • Enhanced auto-classification: IoT and OT device diversity necessitates more granular classification in order to enforce targeted policies to secure these devices. To help auto-classify more of your devices, we’ve added deep packet inspection of over 100 IT and OT protocols and thousands of new classification profiles in our platform. With Forescout 8.1 you can auto-classify over 500 OS versions, more than 5,000 device vendors and models, healthcare devices from over 350 medical technology vendors and thousands of industrial automation devices across manufacturing, energy, oil and gas, utilities, mining and critical infrastructure.
  • Expanded visibility and segmentation: OT and IoT aren’t the only place we’re innovating. To help you keep pace with other trends, we’re expandingvisibility into multi-cloud and software-defined infrastructures with the addition of Azure and Cisco ACI environments to our existing support for AWS and VMware. We’ve also expanded segmentation orchestration across multiple enforcement technologies with the addition of Cisco DNA Center and Fortinet firewalls to our existing support for Palo Alto Networks, Check Point, AWS and VMware. All from a unified policy framework.

There’s much more in Forescout 8.1 including rouge device detection and incident response orchestration with ServiceNow. For more information, read our What’s New datasheet or visit our platform webpage.

Wherever you are on your journey to bring IT and OT together, to securely adopt cloud technology or to implement network segmentation, Forescout can help you lead the way as you redefine IT to facilitate business innovation while maintaining security and safety.

Learn More

1 IoT Implementation and Management—From the Edge to the Cloud: A Gartner Trend Insight Report, April 2018

2 Top Strategic IoT Trends and Technologies Through 2023, September 2018, Gartner