Cybersecurity Campaigns Become More Relevant for US Utilities

US utilities should ramp up their cybersecurity efforts as they rely more on the internet for operations since any unauthorized access to the electric grid can have drastic consequences.

For instance, hackers can cut off the power supply for hospitals that can lead to a significant loss of human lives. While utilities have finally acknowledged the looming cybersecurity risks, their efforts vary depending on state and federal jurisdiction laws.

Regulatory Approach

In New Jersey, IT support systems are necessary for utilities’ contingency plans. The state requires companies to create security programs and procedures for risk mitigation and identification, aside from determining suspicious activities.

State public utility commissions usually have the oversight of investor-owned power companies. On the other hand, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) only oversees cybersecurity regulations for the bulk power grid. This may create some problems in the future on how utilities should execute their digital security plans.

Cybersecurity Theme

While state and federal laws differ on cybersecurity for utility companies, the need to improve systems will be a common theme in 2018. According to the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA), cyber readiness will be a major trend this year, following several cyberattacks in the previous year.

Cybersecurity initiatives will also be evident in other industries such as hospitality, healthcare, education, entertainment and food service. CompTIA expects cyberattacks to become more frequent and complex, so being prepared will be more important than ever.

The internet of things has facilitated the development of the US electric grid. While work became easier due to the use of digital technology, several unscrupulous individuals or groups see this as an opportunity to wreak havoc. How do you protect your business from cyberattacks?