Smart manufacturing through connected operations has created many benefits for manufacturers. The analytics on largevolumes of operational d ata are now being used to improve output and productivity as well as for better safety and preventative maintenance. However, connected operations involves merging IT networks with OT (operational technology) infrastructure and this merger exposes manufacturers to a new set of cybersecurity risks. Nextnine is helping manufactuers deal with the new cybersecu rityvulnerabilities assodated with connected operations through its ICS Shield solution. The company describes ICSShield as an OT security management solution for connected industrial control system (ICS) environments. For manufacturers, ICSShield can serve as a security and operations center for enfordng organizational security polities and facilitatingthe cyber-hardening of an industrial network. “Our ICSShield solution provides a holistic approach formanufacturers to minimize the risks of connected operations with a focus on the security essentials, such as secu re remote access for multiple third parties, updating patches and antivirus signatures,complian.,orting or even simply creating an inventory of operational assets,” said Shmulikkan, Nextnine’s CEO. Nextnine recently entered into an OEM agreement with SecurityMatters in order to add industrial anomaly detection capabilities into the ICSShield solution. According to a statement issued by the two companies, the integration of Security Matters’SilentDefense technology into ICSShield adds continuous network monitoring capab ilities with augmented passive discovery and the ability to detect anomalies and inefficien des. The SilentDefense technology improves the ability of ICS Shield to learn and validate network commu n ication patterns and process operations with in-depth analysis of industrial protocols. It also enables rogue and malfunctioning devices, intrusions and attado to be identified. Our OEM partnership with Security Matters widens the co mpeten des of our ICSShield solution,” stated Aran. `Through the integration of SecurityMatters’Si.tDefense technology, we can now passively build a oomprehensive inventory and baseline picture of the ICS network, including the PLC, and quiddy identify ineffidendes, anomalies traffic patterns and misu se o rabuse of communication.” “Ou r work with Nextn in e allows asset owners, vendors and sendce providers to securely access assets and promptly remediate any potentially disruptive incidents once an anomaly has been detected by SilentDefense,” said Damiano Bolzoni, CEO of Secu rityM atters. `With over 6,000 installations at plants arou nd the world, Nextn in e’s solution is dearly two and th ree steps ahead of the many new vendors that have recently entered the OT and industrial security space and the company has built over th e years an impressive network of prominent MSSP, system integrator and automation vendor partners.