Deploying Software-Defined Networking in Operational Technology Environments


Software-Defined Networking for Operational Technologies, referred to as OT-SDN, is a leading technology to secure critical infrastructure and command and control systems. As the name implies, OT-SDN networks are programmable, which allows system owners to utilise the characteristics of their physical processes to inform the security of their network. There are best practices for deploying OT-SDN into an environment, whether it is all at once or over time (hybrid) that the network is converted to SDN technologies. Through the development of data-mining tools and standardised process control, OT SDN can be deployed reliably. These tools will minimise or eliminate any communication failures during the transition and will provide network owners with complete documentation of their network environment. The resulting documentation could enable or facilitate network owners to pass any audits or policy checks (such as Authority to Operate) before being allowed to utilise the OT-SDN infrastructure.


Photo of Dr. William Hutton III

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
Richland, Washington, United States

Dr. William Hutton spent four years in active duty with the United States Army as a Military Intelligence and Electronic Warfare Specialist. He received his Ph.D. in Computer Science from Washington State University in 2018 and his B.A. in Philosophy from Central Washington University in 2002. Dr Hutton has over 35 years of software development and 25 years of system administration experience. He spent five years working at the Pacific Northwest’s only operating nuclear reactor before coming to the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. While at PNNL Dr Hutton has focused on protecting critical infrastructure, including oversight of 100 private utilities’ cyber security plans and on-site assessments under the 2009 ARRA Smart Grid Investment Grant, cyber and physical security, including several cyber security patents, and vulnerability assessments in diverse sectors including finance, maritime shipping, as well as satellites, hydro, electric, and nuclear power.


silhouette image of Rhett Smith

Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories
Pullman, Washington, United States

Rhett Smith joined SEL in early 2006 and is a Principal Engineer in the R&D Communications Department. He has led various R&D teams and product portfolios focused on critical infrastructure networking and cybersecurity technologies and solutions. Rhett has been the principal investigator on 8 multimillion-dollar Department of Energy cooperative cybersecurity contracts. He holds 16 patents with more pending, published over 20 papers, and has been key in the design and delivery of more than 12 SEL products including, SEL’s OT SDN solutions.

Photo of Photo of Dr. A. David McKinnon

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
Richland, Washington, United States

Dr. A. David McKinnon is a Senior Cyber Security Researcher at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. His research interests are in cyber security and distributed sensor systems. Dr. McKinnon's current focus is on enhancing cyber security within the energy sector. He has advised U.S. utilities on smart grid and resilient energy cyber security projects. He has also led a research and development team that successfully developed and then transitioned a bio-inspired cyber security software to industry. As an adjunct professor, Dr. McKinnon taught computer and network security courses at Washington State University. He is a member of the ACM and a senior member of the IEEE.

Photo of Mark Hadley

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
Richland, Washington,United States

Mark Hadley is a Senior Cybersecurity Researcher at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL). Mr. Hadley’s research and project management activities with PNNL focus on national security solutions in support of non-governmental organizations, the U.S. Departments of Energy, Department of Defense, and Homeland Security. He is a nationally recognized leader in the fields of critical infrastructure protection and industrial control system security. 

Photo of Clifton Eyre

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
Richland, Washington, United States

Clifton Eyre has over 20 years of system administration, network administration, and cyber security experience. He received his B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Washington State University. Clifton worked for 7 years at the Pacific Northwest’s only operating nuclear reactor, adding ICS/SCADA experience which he expanded on upon coming to Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. Clifton has worked with the military on projects such as Cyber Guard and Cyber Flag to educate and train our troops on Cyber Security in critical infrastructure. Clifton has also provided vulnerability assessments to multiple critical infrastructure networks and equipment. Clifton continues to focus on critical infrastructure and vulnerability assessments which also includes satellites, hydro, electric, networks, and nuclear power.

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