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The boundary between IT and OT is blurring. As technology has evolved, the concept of IT / OT convergence - the combination of information technology systems and operational technology systems - gives businesses unprecedented flexibility and power.
Computing, or information technology, refers to the practice of using computers for processing and managing information. The term OT, or operational technology, often includes hardware and software that manage the physical processes of a given business. Computing includes things like servers, network devices, and nodes, while OT usually includes enterprise computing devices such as IoT gateways and control systems.
IT vs. OT is once seen to represent business needs vs. manufacturing needs, tech industry vs. factory tech, software vs. hardware, and different teams are responsible for each. The IT team is responsible for the data and the OT team is responsible for the machines.
And increasingly, the successful IT data value of the OT system is bringing IT and OT closer together. This concept of integrating IT and OT is known as IT/OT integration.
OT is often used to monitor and control production in industrial settings. Unlike IT which deals with the Internet, OT plays a vital role in managing the physical world. For this reason, one of OT's biggest concerns is downtime. (Un)planned downtime is often costly for a business to manage so the main concern of OT is to avoid downtime as much as possible.
OT can help prevent unplanned downtime by implementing SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition), which is a form of industrial control system (ICS). SCADA software helps control PLCs (programmable logic controllers), which are mainly for monitoring and controlling machines and production plants, and can help prevent downtime by shutting down machines automatically or by triggering an alarm in case this system does not work.