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How to Keep Your Industrial Operations Running Smoothly and Securely: 7 Key Characteristics of a Resilient Network

By Eric Forner, Armexa Co-Founder and CTO

Think of your operational technology (OT) network as the nervous system of your business. Just like we need a healthy nervous system to function well, your OT network needs good security to keep everything running smoothly. This protects your important data and infrastructure and ensures that all your equipment works at its best.

As your OT network gets more complex and important, it’s crucial to have a solid plan to keep it running and protect it from problems. A resilient network is the backbone of an organization’s cybersecurity strategy. Think of it like building a strong foundation that can handle any issues, ensuring important industrial processes can continue to run, even if something goes wrong.

In this article, we’ll look at the seven key characteristics that make a network resilient. Each one is important. Plus, we’ll give you a practical tip for each one to help you put these ideas into action.

  1. Redundancy

Think of redundancy as a backup plan. In a strong network, important parts have spares ready to step in if something goes wrong. This means your business keeps running smoothly, even if a piece of the network fails.

Actionable Tip: Implement Path Redundancy

Implement path redundancy using protocols that satisfy convergence requirements. Traditional Rapid Spanning Tree convergence can be too slow for OT infrastructure. Consider using other Layer 2 redundancy technologies, such as Media Redundancy Protocol (MRP), Resilient Ethernet Protocol (REP), Device Level Ring (DLR), Time-Sensitive Networking (TSN), etc., for time-sensitive networks.

  1. Segmentation

Segmentation is like creating different rooms in your house and locking the doors. By dividing your network into smaller parts, you can control access and limit the spread of any issues. This helps keep your network secure and running efficiently.

Actionable Tip: Employ VLANs and Firewall Rules

Set up Virtual LANs (VLANs) to create separate sections of your network. Use firewalls to control who can access these sections, making sure only the right people can get to sensitive areas.

  1. Continuous Monitoring

Continuous monitoring is like having a security guard watching your network all the time. It helps you spot any unusual activity right away, so you can act fast to prevent problems.

Actionable Tip: Add an Infrastructure Monitoring Platform

Consider adding an Infrastructure Monitoring Platform to poll critical network infrastructure for performance and configuration issues, and monitor dataflows using SPAN ports or NetFlow to monitor the traffic traversing OT networks.

  1. Quick Recovery

Quick recovery is all about being ready to bounce back from any issues. This means having backup plans and systems in place so you can get back to normal operations as quickly as possible after a problem.

Actionable Tip: Regularly Back Up Switch and Firewall Configurations

A great place to start is by regularly backing up switch and firewall configurations. This can be done centrally or to local storage (SD card, for example) to quickly recover in the event of a cyber event or hardware failure.

  1. Intrusion Detection and Prevention

Think of intrusion detection and prevention as having an alarm system for your network. These tools watch for suspicious activity and can stop threats in their tracks.

Actionable Tip: Enhance Detection with Regular Updates and Advanced Technologies

Ensure your detection systems receive regular signature updates to recognize new threats. Additionally, augment your security by utilizing behavior-based heuristics and remote detonation technologies (e.g., WildFire). This combination helps keep your systems current and enhances their ability to catch and block the latest security risks, beyond what signature-based methods alone can achieve.

  1. Access Controls

Access controls are like the locks on your doors. They ensure that only authorized people can access certain parts of your network, keeping everything secure.

Actionable Tip: Implement Role-Based Access Control

Set up access based on job roles rather than individual permissions. This makes it easier to manage who can access what, reducing the risk of someone having too much access.

  1. Security Updates and Patching

Keeping your software and hardware up-to-date is like getting regular check-ups to stay healthy. Applying updates and patches protects your network from known vulnerabilities.

Actionable Tip: Always Keep Border Security Appliances up to Date

Always keep your border security appliances, such as firewalls, up to date. Restrict access to the admin interfaces of switches, as they almost never get updated.


The ability to keep things running – and do so in a secure way – hinges on having a resilient network.

The seven key characteristics of redundancy, segmentation, continuous monitoring, quick recovery, intrusion detection and prevention, access controls, and security updates and patching collectively form a defense for your operations.

Investing in network resilience is more than an option; it’s a necessity for ensuring safe, reliable and secure operations.

Contact us today to learn how we can help protect, optimize, monitor and maintain your investments in secure operations.

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