Patches for control systems, whether they are for functionality reasons or security concerns, must be guided by patch process management which identifies the periodicity and lifecycle. Having a comprehensive list of security-related patches using OT-specific patching tools for gathering entire vulnerability, software, and security patch information seems simple. However, Operation technology (OT) patch management is far from simple.
A single solution does not exist that sufficiently addresses the patch management of both traditional IT data networks and control systems. Unexpected or sudden downtime of industrial control systems can have severe operational consequences. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Control Systems Security Program (CSSP) acknowledges that ICS operators or owners should have an integrated plan that helps identify a unique approach to patch management for control systems.
In this article, we will identify issues regarding the patch management of control systems and recommend best practices to strengthen overall ICS security. Let’s get started with an introduction to Industrial Control Systems (ICS) and Patch Management.