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What Are The Latest Security Trends in the Utility Sector?

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Julian Jackson's picture
Staff Writer, Energy Central, BrightGreen PR

Julian Jackson is a writer whose interests encompass business and technology, cryptocurrencies, energy and the environment, as well as photography and film. His portfolio is here:...

  • Member since 2020
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  • Nov 5, 2021

The utilities industry is facing increasing demands and cybersecurity threats. It suffers from some of its companies having older, legacy systems. There are physical security issues as well as regulatory and staffing issues. The energy and utilities industry is transitioning from the older analogue, scale-driven, centralized model to a digital and distributed energy system. Consumer preferences, evolving regulations, and the ever-changing threat landscape mean that security strategies need to be agile to meet potential hazards. Security professionals require solutions that can secure an proliferating array of assets in an expanding and dispersed ecosystem, while managing the growing number of attempted intrusions from practiced hacker groups while navigating increasingly stringent regulations.

Threats range from ransomware attempts, state-sponsored actors to hacktivists. Access control is critical. Defending against cybercriminals when they are inside the utilities network is much more difficult, and keeping all operational systems updated and patched is costly. As the digital transformation is ongoing, utilities are increasingly utilizing analytics to optimize operations and consequently moving important functions to the cloud. They need to invest in comprehensive security detection and response strategies that work on-site and in the cloud. Finally, ransomware continues to be a challenge, and utilities need to invest beyond endpoint detection and response (EDR) and prioritize network detection and response (NDR) and correlate security findings in their security information and event management (SIEM) system. A proactive AI and ML-driven approach is needed to defend against bad actors attempting to reap financial rewards from weak protections.

Energy and utilities are a long-developed industry that often uses legacy systems badly in need of updating. Cybersecurity threats have increased dramatically in recent years, and in the utility sector, there is more at stake – given its centrality to countries' critical infrastructure. Cybersecurity will continue to present tricky challenges for the whole sector for years to come.


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