Energy and utility companies seem to have a target on their backs when it comes to cybersecurity. Hackers are financially motivated, and with more of these companies paying ransoms for stolen data, hackers are becoming bolder — and more demanding.
Some high-profile companies have paid millions of dollars in ransoms, but other have paid under the radar — and are unwilling to talk about it. Not only have cybercriminals become more demanding, but they have also become more sophisticated, deploying complex, multi-stage attacks with the aim of paralyzing entire networks. So far, they have succeeded in causing a number of power and energy outages across the globe.
In response, the Biden administration is rolling out an action plan to incentivize energy and utility companies to use robust monitoring equipment that can detect — and prevent — cyberattacks. An attack on our energy grid could leave millions without power — and severely weaken our ability to respond to outside aggression.
Why Energy and Utility Companies Must Recognize the Critical Importance of a Cybersecurity Plan
It is inevitable — cyberattacks on critical infrastructure are on the increase, and are becoming more commonplace. In particular, hackers are targeting specific areas, such as:
- New Cloud Infrastructures
Utilities are relying on cloud infrastructure more than ever as it has the potential to be scalable, resilient, and efficient. Through cloud usage operating expenses can be reduced by 25% while gains in performance can skyrocket to as much as 40%. Routine tasks can be offloaded to the cloud to reduce overall IT costs and lower the cost of replacing old, legacy networks. The cloud can also support contract workers such as tree trimmers, meter installers, and others without the need for capital-heavy IT structures.
The fix: Cloud security monitoring can help energy and utility companies control access, manage security risks, and detect suspicious — or malicious — activity on the network before hackers can gain a foothold.
Utilities have a great deal of sensitive and personal information under their control — data that hackers would love to exploit. At the same time, more energy and utility companies are relying on remote workers to help take care of day-to-day tasks. The Internet of Things (IoT) and a growing reliance on home-based or mobile devices are escalating security issues among these companies, with IoT and Edge devices already the subject of several attacks. In fact, the increase in remote working has gone hand-in-hand with a 44% increase in cybersecurity issues.
The fix: Endpoint security platforms that use layered protection and remote monitoring can help analyze endpoint activity and stop cyberattacks before they make inroads into essential infrastructure.
- Lackluster Response to Disaster
Many utilities have tight budgets that do not allow for massive spending on IT. While some state are trying to determine how to finance cybersecurity programs for some utilities, full funding is unlikely in the near future. Cybercriminals are capitalizing on cash-poor utilities being unprepared for potential intrusion and so having little — or no — disaster response protocols in place to support them in the event of data theft or loss.
The fix: Working with a third-party Managed IT partner can be a cost-effective way to get expert help in developing and deploying a robust disaster response and recovery plan that can minimize damages in the event of a breach.
Blue Technologies Can Meet Your Cybersecurity Needs
In the world of energy, one mistake can cost you everything. And with cybercriminals targeting utility companies, it is more important than ever to make sure your infrastructure and your data is secured.
At Blue Technologies, we have a team of Managed IT professionals ready to deploy their leading-edge knowledge to keep your business protected from cyberthreats. We will expertly assess the state of your current infrastructure for weaknesses and vulnerabilities, then design a custom-tailored program to lock down data security and compliance.
And because rapid disaster recovery is critical to business continuity in the event of a breach, we focus on developing strong disaster recovery and backup plans that can minimize the impact of downtime in the event a breach does occur.
Make sure your energy or utility company has the right cybersecurity protection in place. Contact a Blue Technologies consultant and learn how our Managed IT professionals can keep your data secured.