TL; DR: SCADAfence, a leader in high-level operational technology (OT) and Internet of Things (IoT) security solutions, provides a non-intrusive platform designed for full coverage of large-scale networks. The company’s goal is to help OT networks leverage industrial IoT resources safely by actively mitigating threats. SCADAfence is known for its cutting-edge detection accuracy, asset discovery, and visibility, as well as seamless integration within existing security operations.
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) has become a known hotbed of cybersecurity talent, giving rise to success in the country’s labor market and beyond.
Former members often occupy senior-level roles at renowned technology companies or form their own successful ventures. So it’s no wonder that Ofer Shaked, Co-Founder and CTO of SCADAfence, hails from the Israeli military’s cybersecurity development squad.
The company, founded in 2014, is now a leading force in cybersecurity solutions for large-scale operational technology (OT) and the Internet of Things (IoT). SCADAfence’s scalable proprietary architecture connects and secures the industrial assets present in a widespread network within a single system, all while learning the behaviors of each system’s diversified manufacturing process.
“The company was created by brilliant guys who used their experience in intelligence during their service in the Israeli Army to secure OT networks, which are typically aging and designed without proper security in place,” said Michael Yehoshua, VP of Marketing at SCADAfence. “They built an interesting type of technology that could identify all of the weak spots in the network and turned that technology into an excellent working product.”
Unlike some of its competitors, SCADAfence approached the market with a long-term vision to cater to one of the most complex industrial verticals — manufacturing. Rather than build a simple solution with plans to scale up, the goal was to tackle complex problems from the start.
“While other companies started off with very small networks, such as oil and gas, or simple one-vendor systems, SCADAfence aimed high,” Michael said. “If you’ve ever seen an automotive manufacturing facility in Japan or Germany, the amount of precision and the number of machines running is astronomical. And that’s the type of challenge that the company wanted to target.”
Helping OT Networks Reap the Benefits of Industrial IoT
By 2018, that approach began to pay off, as SCADAfence earned the trust of renowned enterprise leaders in the automotive, home appliance manufacturing, and medical goods sectors.
In 2017, the company expanded beyond its Israeli headquarters with an office in Germany. In late 2018, SCADAfence announced the establishment of a domestic office in Japan in 2018 created to spur full-scale business development in a strategic market. (Japan is the fourth largest manufacturing country in the world.)
The goal is to secure these systems in North America, Germany, Japan, and beyond — and SCADAfence continues to thrive in that regard.
“At first, people didn’t believe the company could go after such a complex industry, but that long-term strategy has played to our benefit,” Michael said. “The technology gap that exists between SCADAfence’s product and those of other companies on the market — even those that are supported by more than $100 million in funding — is very wide.”
The company’s rapid growth can also be attributed to the digital transformation boom within the manufacturing industry. The Fourth Industrial Revolution, or Industry 4.0, is replacing traditional manufacturing practices with advances in robotics, 3D printing, artificial intelligence, and the IoT.
The resulting smart factories help manufacturers reduce costs while improving quality and productivity, but they also introduce new operational risks. That’s where SCADAfence comes in, visualizing the vast digital networks inherent in smart factories (and cities) and working to prevent, detect, and mitigate security risks in IoT devices. These include IP cameras, printers, VOIP devices, IoT gateway, access control systems, smart sensors, and smart TVs.
Cutting-Edge Detection Accuracy, Asset Discovery, and Visibility
Michael said that from a technological perspective, SCADAfence is an incredibly complex and efficient system.
“First, our technology uses port mirroring to monitor all network traffic,” he said. “Every bit of traffic is captured by the platform — which normally requires a tremendous amount of bandwidth, but ours is built differently. There’s only one other company in the world that is able to replicate it.”
Many of the company’s competitors use a sampling method to analyze, for example, 200 out of 1,000 packets. SCADAfence examines every packet.
“Reading and processing an incredible amount of information gives you a very accurate detection,” Michael said. “But, from another standpoint, it can cause of a lot of false positives. That’s why we developed a system that completes an entire network baseline in less than two days. It’s AI-based, which means it never stops learning the system — it just gets smarter over time.”
The baseline allows the technology to correctly differentiate between standard parts of the process and anomalies and alert the user accordingly. Michael told us this advanced technology also captures traffic from the thousands of devices in the IoT world and processes it with passive and active actions.
“Armis, one of the big players in IoT security, has technology that isolates malfunctioning devices from the network,” Michael said. “We said, that’s not a solution; that just causes other problems, because now you have 500 isolated devices and someone has to manually put them back in.”
With SCADAfence, users can perform bulk changes on IoT devices. If, for example, 1,000 IoT devices are malfunctioning, the system will detect them instead of isolating them, then remediate all problems on those devices.
“That could mean fixing the default password, reinstalling firmware, or changing default configurations,” Michael said. “And you can do that in bulk for hundreds or even thousands of devices with one click. That alone solves the biggest problem in IoT security.”
A Customer-Centric Digital Transformation Approach
When it comes to internal development, SCADAfence is highly attuned to the needs of customers and the market at large.
“When we see that we have three or four customers who are requesting a certain product or feature, we will add it to our development roadmap to ensure their needs are met,” Michael said. “Satisfied customers are the number one thing that you can ask for as a company. The rest comes naturally.”
A customer-first approach also means the company won’t over-exaggerate its abilities to make a quick sale. Michael told us that’s a phenomenon he unfortunately sees in the cybersecurity field far too often.
“Our philosophy is to underpromise, overdeliver,” he said. “If we say our product can do something, it will absolutely be able to do it,” he said. “Honesty is the best policy, and we provide a product that does everything we promise.”
One thing SCADAfence can promise that many similar companies can’t is a compliance solution portal for IT and OT operators that covers industrial frameworks.
Through the SCADAfence Governance Portal, the company provides a one-stop shop for enabling real-time monitoring and compliance across the entire organization. Assessments are based on real traffic data and relevant regulations such as IEC62443, NERC CIP, NIS NCSC, and the NIST framework, among others.
“After interviewing customers, we created a standalone product that actually learns from a company’s IoT devices and tells them how compliant they are with industrial standards,” Michael told us. “It’s been popular ever since we launched it a couple of months ago.”
Continuous Improvement of OT & IoT Security
Moving forward, Michael said SCADAfence will remain focused on helping customers securely manage IoT devices.
“SCADAfence IoT Security, which was newly launched, will continue to get even better over time,” he said.
He predicts many companies will be leveraging the active IoT resource in the near future — that is, if they aren’t already.
“It can collect all of the devices that exist all over the network, and it is able to change the configurations of each and every one of them — no matter the vendor, no matter the type,” he said. “And it can do it all with one click. That’s something to be excited about.”
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