When we think of the targets of malevolent digital threats, we consider the financial sector. We think of identity theft. But do we consider the wild importance of energy cybersecurity?
Let’s take a look at the energy and utility industry and talk about why security issues are so crucial, the most common problems in their security infrastructure, and what energy and utility providers can do to keep themselves safe from these types of threats moving forward.
Why Is Cybersecurity for Energy Important, Anyway?
Utility and energy providers understand the value of protecting their physical infrastructure.
If a massive wind or ice storm were to knock out a chunk of the power grid, trained technicians would be on the scene within hours to make sure that the broken elements get fixed and everything gets back up and running.
Why? Because those providers have trained experts on staff ready to respond at a moment’s notice to any sort of threat to the physical network. They know the value of quick response and remediation of issues.
However, they don’t always see the same level of value when considering their digital system’s infrastructure. And that is a problem.
What’s The Worst That Can Happen?
Utility providers and energy companies can experience some major problems if their security is compromised. And those problems can carry on the right to the consumer.
If an attacker gets unfettered access to a utility or energy company, they can turn off or re-route services. No power. Blocked 911 calls. Reversing the flow of sewage pumps.
And on top of that, most utility companies have private consumer details and billing information stored in their systems, which would also become compromised.
So it’s not a stretch to stay that taking care of the security of digital infrastructure is just as important as taking care of the physical infrastructure.
Do Most Utility Providers Have Effective Energy Cybersecurity?
Sadly, no. And if this concerns you, it should.
Now, this isn’t to say that most energy companies don’t invest in some sort of cybersecurity efforts. In fact, they may be spending a lot of money on security tools.
Antivirus. Security alert software. Firewalls. “Network Monitoring” services. Energy companies invest in all these solutions and more.
But here’s the problem: these are “siloed” solutions designed to fix a particular issue, but they don’t factor in the overall security of the system as a whole.
This is like slapping a band-aid over a huge wound… it may stop the bleeding in one specific area, but it won’t heal the entire problem.
Many energy companies spend a lot of money on the individual, siloed solutions for their security system, and they assume they are safe because of the dollars they spend and the tangible ‘gizmos’ and programs that they see in return for that investment.
But what they don’t see are the gaps between all those solutions that attackers can use to gain access to their system. Instead of having cybersecurity that blankets their entire environment, they end up with a security system that looks more like swiss cheese.
Those holes in the system? They can be exploited.
What Makes Cybersecurity For Energy & Utilities Effective?
Here’s the difference between protecting your digital infrastructure and your physical one: people.
Attacks on your security environment are attacks by people. Smart people, who want to do bad things with the systems and data in your care.
And it takes people to fight people.
Energy companies invest in siloed energy solutions because they want a set-it-and-forget-it style solution to their security needs. But software can only go so far. Even top of the line SIEM (Security Information and Event Management) software, which is an incredibly useful and comprehensive tool for aggregating logs and monitoring them for threatening activity, is only as good as the team of people who run it.
Think of it this way: if you were suddenly put behind the controls of the newest, fastest, all-around-best passenger airliner on the market today, could you land it without having any previous flying experience?
In the same way, a siloed solution in the hands of someone untrained in learning the proper security context won’t be able to accomplish their goals.
What does this mean? Well, it means that if you truly want effective security that you can rely on, it’s best to rely on a managed security service, provided by experts who know exactly how to fight the attackers that try to gain access to your system.
Expert Solutions For Energy Cybersecurity
In the energy sector, there’s no room for error when it comes to protecting consumer data and the security of the infrastructure. It’s important to really understand the context of the security environment, to understand normal behavior and deviant behavior, to have an expert set of eyes on the system at all times.
At BitLyft Cybersecurity, we partner with all of our clients to make sure their security needs are met; not only for today but for the many days to come. You aren’t buying a product, you’re buying a long-term solution from a team of security experts.
We proactively seek out threats to remediate and ways to keep your system secure and compliant, so your IT department can focus on keeping your business systems running smoothly.
And here’s the best news: a managed detection and response service featuring SIEM, SOC, and SOAR solutions is not only more effective than installing siloed solutions on-prem and training your own on-site team… it’s also more affordable, and it able to be implemented faster.
Sign up for a free demo, and let us show you what we can do. We’d love to chat about partnering with you and keeping your business systems secure.
And here’s the best news: a cloud-based cybersecurity service featuring SIEM, SOC, and SOAR solutions is not only more effective than installing siloed solutions on-prem and training your own on-site team… it’s also more affordable, and it able to be implemented faster.