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IT, OT Converge

A growing trend, IT (information technology) and OT (operational technology) are more often coming together to improve business efficiencies, employee safety, business agility, and support a hybrid work environment. At its core, IT expertise is needed in order to scale and secure the network, as OT systems are brought onto the corporate network.

We are seeing this line beginning to blur in a number of different ways. For one, Gartner suggests roughly 82% of CIOs have responsibility for OT systems, which has increased in the last three years. What’s more, 89% say it will increase in the next three years.

Here’s the challenge: While automation, segmentation, and capabilities can proactively resolve issues, the capabilities are widely deployed in the enterprise. Without enterprise-grade network infrastructure features, IT and OT resources can become more strained, putting systems at risk.

This is where a new solution enters the equation, aiming at connecting and securing the growing number of industrial devices. The new Cisco Catalyst Industrial Ethernet 9300 switch integrates enterprise capabilities with industrial protocols in a form factor built for rugged, industrial spaces. Announced on January 20, the Cisco Catalyst 9000 portfolio is based on the UADP (Unified Access Data Plane) ASIC silicon, which will bring more enterprise-grade switching capabilities to the industrial edge. This is ideal for industries that support critical infrastructure like utilities, oil and gas, roadways, and rail.

Based on high-performing UADP ASIC silicon, the Catalyst IE9300 is purpose-built for IT and OT to automate network operations, bringing zero trust security to the operational space and offering high port density with switch stacking with centralized management, and more.

Back in 2020, Schneider Electric and Cisco partnered to bridge operational technology and information technology in building management systems. Today, as Schneider Electric and World Wide Technology advance the smart grid to ensure energy availability, enterprise-grade switching capabilities in industrial form factors are crucial to ensure substations are efficient and resilient.

Cisco Catalyst IE9300 switch brings fiber scalability to electric grid networks and in combinations with the APC by SE Uninterruptible Power Supplies, these technologies will elevate electric grid reliability, according to Jose Peinado, strategic alliance leader, Schneider Electric.

All in all, this new technology will enable utilities to modernize the grid in a way that is secure, all while bringing IT and OT a little bit closer together.

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