Oleg Blokhin - Getty Images

OT security vendor Nozomi Networks lands Air Force contract

Nozomi Networks CEO Edgard Capdevielle said the $1.25 million contract will be a guarantee that 'our products will continue to meet the requirements of the Air Force.'

Industrial security vendor Nozomi Networks announced Tuesday that it was awarded a $1.25 million contract with the U.S. Air Force.

The operational technology (OT) and IoT security vendor was selected by AFWERX -- an innovation arm within the Air Force Research Laboratory -- for a Small Business Innovation Research, or SBIR, Phase II contract to deploy its technology. Starting in February and continuing for an estimated 14 to 16 months, Nozomi will work with the Air Force to develop tools to provide OT and IoT asset visibility, threat detection, and data analysis to minimize cyber-risk and maximize resiliency, according to the company.

Nozomi CEO Edgard Capdevielle told TechTarget Editorial that in practice, the company will deploy and tailor its technology to the Air Force's needs. The CEO named the company's Guardian and Guardian Air tools in particular.

Nozomi Guardian is the name of the company's security sensor built for asset visibility and network monitoring in industrial control system, OT, IoT and IT environments; Guardian Air is a version of the tool tailored for wireless assets. Though Nozomi Networks has multiple security products, the company specializes in asset visibility and threat detection in OT settings, such as critical infrastructure and manufacturing environments.

Capdevielle added that as the Air Force and U.S. government are already customers of Nozomi, the contract is "writing a guarantee that as we progress, our products will continue to meet the requirements of the Air Force." The news followed a $100 million Series E funding round the company announced last month, which included investments from Schneider Electric and Mitsubishi Electric.

As a subindustry, OT security is fairly young; it became a bespoke category of cybersecurity only about a decade ago. As tools in areas such as manufacturing and healthcare became more internet-connected, the need for cybersecurity to meet these developments has increased in kind.

In late 2022, Capdevielle told TechTarget Editorial that one of the largest threats surrounding OT security was "budget muscle," the idea of an organization struggling to make space in its security budget for operational technology in addition to preexisting investments in IT-related areas. The CEO said that since that time, budget muscle -- as well as board-level appetite for OT security investment -- has improved.

"Unfortunately, we've had customers that have had issues. These issues have not become as public as Colonial Pipeline, but these experiences have helped [raise awareness]," Capdevielle said. "I think you can only be a board-level conversation for so long without doing anything, and because we got to be a board-level conversation, people are now starting to do more. And CISOs are getting a lot more comfortable [prioritizing OT]."

TechTarget Editorial has reached out to the Air Force for additional comment.

Alexander Culafi is a senior information security news writer and podcast host for TechTarget Editorial.

Next Steps

Operational technology vs. information technology explained

Dig Deeper on Network security

Enterprise Desktop
Cloud Computing