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The Backbone of the Energy Industry: Cybersecurity

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It’s National Cybersecurity Awareness Month

In our age of Internet connectivity, we know how important it is to keep our online information secure and confidential. These days, even the most private information, like your banking account and financial information, are managed and accessed online. Cybersecurity is not only important for individuals. Businesses, institutions, and industries need to constantly protect their most sensitive data, especially private information belonging to their customers.

Cybersecurity & the Electric Power Industry

In honor of National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, let’s explore why cybersecurity is so important for our electric power industry. Today’s energy grid is a complex system connecting power plants, transmission lines, and distribution infrastructure—all working to bring energy to our homes and our communities. It also provides energy to entire industries—the healthcare, finance, transportation, and communications industries all depend on the energy grid to perform their daily functions.

Why is it more important than ever to keep the grid safe from cyberattacks or even ordinary software bugs? As the energy grid continues to adapt smart technology, basic functions become more digitized, thereby increasing connection to consumers. The electric power industry, the government, and other institutions are joining together to create necessary procedures that protect the energy grid from attacks or security breaches.

What Steps Are Being Taken to Support Cybersecurity?

The Senate recently passed a bill that proposes new methods to address cybersecurity threats to the energy grid. The “Energy Policy Modernization Act of 2016” will invest dollars in researching and developing technologies that will combat cyber vulnerabilities.

Energy companies work collaboratively with the Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability, along with other federal agencies and industries, to develop a cooperative approach to cybersecurity by:

  • Encouraging timely sharing of relevant information
  • Creating cybersecurity standards
  • Developing a talented cybersecurity workforce
  • Supporting sector incident management and response

Working together, we can keep our energy grid secure as it continues to provide the energy needed to power our daily lives.