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Guide to Operational Technology (OT) Security



Keith A. Stouffer, Michael Pease, CheeYee Tang, Timothy Zimmerman, Victoria Yan Pillitteri, Suzanne Lightman, Adam Hahn, Stephanie Saravia, Aslam Sherule, Michael Thompson


This document provides guidance on how to secure operational technology (OT) while addressing their unique performance, reliability, and safety requirements. OT encompasses a broad range of programmable systems and devices that interact with the physical environment (or manage devices that interact with the physical environment). These systems and devices detect or cause a direct change through the monitoring and/or control of devices, processes, and events. Examples include industrial control systems, building automation systems, transportation systems, physical access control systems, physical environment monitoring systems, and physical environment measurement systems. The document provides an overview of OT and typical system topologies, identifies common threats and vulnerabilities to these systems, and provides recommended security countermeasures to mitigate the associated risks.
Special Publication (NIST SP) - 800-82r3
Report Number


computer security, distributed control systems (DCS), industrial control systems (ICS), information security, network security, operational technology (OT), programmable logic controllers (PLC), risk management, security controls, supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems.


Stouffer, K. , Pease, M. , Tang, C. , Zimmerman, T. , Pillitteri, V. , Lightman, S. , Hahn, A. , Saravia, S. , Sherule, A. and Thompson, M. (2023), Guide to Operational Technology (OT) Security, Special Publication (NIST SP), National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD, [online],, (Accessed May 28, 2024)


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Created September 28, 2023