Top 3 Mandates to Embrace for Reducing Cyber Risk in the Power Sector
energycioinsights

Top 3 Mandates to Embrace for Reducing Cyber Risk in the Power Sector

By Energy CIO Insights | Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Being subject to frequent cyberattacks, the power sector recognizes the threat and implements best of the security practices to respond to and prevent them.  

FREMONT, CA: From smart meters, smart appliances to renewable energy resources— energy has been paddled through innovative technologies leading to better control of consumption, use of data in real-time and adjustments of power flows for the main objective of efficient management of the electrical network. This rapid development of smart grid coupled with the Internet of Things (IoT) devices has brought the issues of cyber threats to the front. Experts opine that cyberattacks once viewed as a remote possibility is now a likely occurrence that can happen anywhere. Responding to these threats requires coordinated action and consistent investment to strengthen the defensive edge.  Considering the below best practices can help providers and authorities stay away from sophisticated threats.

• Asset Evaluation

The foremost step to consider in preventing cyberattack across the energy sector is to identify and map assets and their connections and prioritize them critically. It helps in understanding if critical assets and networks have any exploitable vulnerabilities. Assessing the maturity of the controls environment can proactively manage threats. For this, it is often helpful to use an established cybersecurity maturity model.  Also building a framework to protect critical assets that employ people, processes, and technology can make secure, vigilant, and resilient energy network.

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• Supply Chain Assessment

To manage risk in the electricity supply chain, agencies can start with engaging the procurement function, which is helpful to get everyone under one umbrella and focus on good governance. Addressing procurement language and obtaining reliable supplier assessments and cyber risk intelligence is also essential. Understanding supply chain firmware updates and performing business planning and analysis will be added benefits in case an attack succeeds. Focusing on leading security practices and securing the product and services is vital to consider. Security practices include threat intelligence, patch, and vulnerability management. Consumers can also demand that providers respond to cybersecurity questionnaire and ensure of having completed a security risk assessment.

• Engaging with Peers and Agencies

Going beyond individual enterprise efforts other than supply chain cyber risk can help develop industry standards and certification programs. It includes exchanging threat intelligence with peers and agencies and testing innovative technologies and best practices for improving security. Join initiatives to establish a common framework can reduce cyber risk globally. Another option is to join efforts to build comprehensive structures to help protect critical hardware, software, and networks from cyber threats.  This initiative calls for binding regulations and standards to ensure cybersecurity. For these efforts to work well, consumers need to understand the value of cybersecurity and should be willing to pay for.                  

The power sector cyber threat landscape is rapidly evolving with frequent attacks, and varied threat actors and cyber risk are becoming challenging to address. Having a cybersecurity-best-practices model and building a secure, vigilant, and resilient framework can considerably reduce cyber risk profile. If providers and agencies seize the above opportunities, they can reduce risk significantly.

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