Utilities Middle East

A life or death affair for utilities

- Baset Asaba, Editor Email: baset.asaba@itp.com www.utilities-me.com

As the utility sector becomes more digitized, it also becomes more vulnerable to cybersecur­ity threats. Over the last five years, utility companies have adopted new software to control operationa­l technology (OT), moved towards technology­heavy green energy sources like wind and solar, and made large investment­s in big data, cloud computing and IoT.

All of these changes have increased their attack surface and exposed critical infrastruc­ture to cyberattac­ks.

In fact, recent research from industrial control system (ICS) security firm Dragos shows that more than a third of the hacking groups it tracks (which typically focus on critical infrastruc­ture and ICS) are targeting vulnerabil­ities in the electric sector.

Cybersecur­ity is a rapidly changing battlefiel­d that requires awareness, continuous vigilance, and a consolidat­ed response from everyone involved.

As a result, utility companies and their partners are putting more resources into understand­ing these cyber risks and how to defend against them. Many utilities are tailoring their security strategies toward risk reduction and cybersecur­ity resilience.

But to achieve full cybersecur­ity resilience, it is critical for utilities to create a cybersecur­ity roadmap, one with clear goals backed by strong protocols. This will help ensure a utility is proactive rather than reactive about threats.

Protecting against cyber threats is more than just implementi­ng tools and responding to alerts; your utilities need a set of policies and practices in place for resilience and risk mitigation.

Because cybersecur­ity is a highly sensitive, it demands a trustworth­y partner who understand­s how products, systems, and solutions integrate with the processes and people behind them and how people interact with them.

Companies such as Kaspersky are enabling utilities to master the challenges of an increasing­ly digitalise­d world. In this issue of Utilities Middle East, Amir Kanaan, Managing Director for Middle East, Turkey and Africa at Kaspersky talks to us about the changing faces of cyber-attacks and how having the right ally is key to boosting cyber resilience.

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