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Blog / 6 min read

Introducing Claroty xDome Secure Access: Delivering Secure Access to All of Your Cyber-Physical Systems

The Claroty Team
/ May 21st, 2024

Secure remote access is crucial in managing critical infrastructure as it allows businesses to optimize and scale operations, and maintain efficiency. However, although there are numerous benefits, remote access also introduces a myriad of security gaps, which are only increasing as the number of connected devices grows. As operations scale alongside remote access, it has also created a series of compounding challenges. These challenges begin with the productivity demands of remote access and extend to an increased threat landscape that has grown more dangerous due to a rise in prolific cyber actors, who have increasingly pursued geo-political and malicious goals. This escalation in cyber threats has also led to heightened regulatory pressures as policymakers attempt to rapidly address cyber risks that threaten national security, economic security, and public safety.

Further complicating matters is the fact that as the number of connected devices within cyber-physical systems (CPS) environments grows, organizations have typically turned to traditional access solutions like VPNs and jump-servers. According to Gartner®, these approaches have “proven increasingly unsecure and complex to manage. They also often lack the granularity to provide access to a single device, providing access to the entire network instead.” This is due to the fact that these solutions were not built for the unique operational constraints, security considerations, or personnel needs of CPS environments.

At Claroty, we understand these challenges. That’s why we’ve developed a purpose-built remote access solution catered to meet the specific needs of the OT domain. Introducing: xDome Secure Access.  

Today, we will discuss the challenges brought about by traditional remote access solutions, and how xDome Secure Access solves for these challenges while safeguarding your critical infrastructure.  

Challenge 1: Many traditional solutions lack the basic capabilities required to meet the unique needs of operational environments

Traditional solutions often lack the basic capabilities required for CPS, including the ability to provide agentless access or to operate in high-latency networks with intermittent connectivity. This capability is particularly important for organizations that operate in remote locales, such as oil rigs, mines, power distribution, and more. Given these solutions’ inability to efficiently provision and authenticate stable access to OT assets for local and third-party users, they limit their ability to perform standard operations on the OT assets to maintain or configure them.

Solution: Claroty xDome Secure Access is designed for the OT domain, providing frictionless access for both first and third-party users

Our solution effectively reduces Mean Time to Repair (MTTR) by facilitating quicker issue resolution, operates under low bandwidth conditions, ensures high system availability, and upholds critical site survivability. By flawlessly integrating these capabilities, xDome Secure Access ensures that critical systems remain both operational and secure, even in the most demanding conditions.

Challenge 2: Legacy solutions like VPNs generally provide access to an entire network with little scope of control around access

This is a major shortcoming in building a foundation of Zero Trust network access controls where time-bound, just-in-time (JIT) access can help to reduce the attack surface of the CPS environment. In addition to blanket access, legacy solutions also provide users the ability to directly connect with assets that sit deep within the operational network. This both reveals the credentials for these assets and disregards generally established zones of communication control in complex and unique OT networks by “breaking” the Purdue Model. 

Solution: xDome Secure Access provides strong security controls to protect your organization's OT systems against unauthorized access and identity risks

The Claroty xDome platform incorporates a tailored Zero Trust framework that is further enhanced by Privileged Access Management (PAM) capabilities and Identity Governance and Administration (IGA) functionality. These features are vital in managing and monitoring privileged accounts and access to critical systems. With PAM, all privileged access is granted based on strict identity verification and authorization protocols, which help improve incident management and system monitoring.

xDome also allows you to manage the entire identity lifecycle, from initiation to retirement, with the utmost precision and security. The platform applies strict least-privilege access policies through IGA, significantly reducing the attack surface and strengthening network integrity and resilience against both internal and external threats.

Challenge 3: Managing the various users that require access to CPS environments can be challenging without specialized knowledge of these environments

Administrators must establish and govern the entire identity lifecycle of a user and provision access with granular role-based access controls (RBAC); however, traditional solutions are often manually managed, with permission set on a user-by-user basis with little auditability to identify a user's role and/or change of responsibility. This lack of centralized and policy-based governance creates an environment with ineffective management of both identities and access that leads to increased exposure to risk.

Solution: xDome Secure Access significantly reduces administrative complexity with its centralized platform designed to manage interactions with diverse critical assets 

The xDome Secure Access architecture offers the flexibility to operate seamlessly both on-premises and in the cloud, catering specifically to the unique demands of the OT environment. This centralized management system ensures uniform security policies for user identities, which are crucial for maintaining security measures across all critical assets.

xDome Secure Access is also designed to simplify administrative tasks that require constant operational control. Our platform integrates seamlessly with leading Identity and Access Management (IAM) tools, enhancing identity management and enabling centralized site management and policy creation. This integration not only allows administrators to effectively set and manage access rights but also provides the capability to make on-demand and mid-session adjustments. These features maintain operational continuity,  increase production resilience and minimize downtime. 

Challenge 4: Traditional solutions lack effective change management processes to regularly track and audit network changes that exist in CPS-specific organizational compliance and regulatory frameworks

Whether they are responding to vulnerability updates or unplanned third-party modifications, traditional solutions struggle with tracking these changes on OT assets in real-time. This challenge highlights the need for a system that provides real-time alerts, detailed logs, session recording, and over-the-shoulder monitoring for detailed audit reports and timely adjustments to access configurations. Additionally, these solutions lack the operational context required to report on sessions that are in exception to existing policies or inform administrators when a single user maintains a toxic combination of privileges. 

Solution: Claroty xDome Secure Access provides the necessary controls for real-time logging and auditing of user identities

Complying with organizational standards and ever-changing regulatory requirements is essential to effectively managing the identity lifecycle across the CPS landscape. That’s why our platform provides the necessary controls for real-time logging and auditing of user identities, which are crucial for maintaining comprehensive audit trails and meeting regulatory requirements. By adhering to key standards, xDome Secure Access secures operations and ensures compliance with the latest mandates — protecting your organization against potential legal and financial penalties.

As critical infrastructure organizations continue to face new challenges related to secure remote access, they require a solution that is purpose-built for their unique operational and environmental constraints. At Claroty, we understand these challenges, and are determined to alleviate your pain points. Our xDome platform empowers customers to better understand and protect their unique CPS environment, enhance productivity, reduce risk and administrative complexity, and ensure compliance across both first and third-party users.  

To learn more about this latest release and how Claroty xDome Secure Access can support your CPS security journey, please check out our Secure Access webpage, read the press release, or simply request a demo.

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