S4x23 Review Part 2: Evolving Energy Cybersecurity

While public-private partnerships may have been successful for large businesses, small businesses with limited financial and human assets still face challenges.

The 100-day plan has certainly advanced cybersecurity in the energy sector by focusing on ICS security and grid security and facilitating coordination between public and private entities and agencies. However, challenges have been raised in the areas of information sharing among small utilities, solutions tailored for them, and sustainable initiatives.

Innovative threat intelligence and products designed for large utilities are too expensive for small utilities. However, the power grid is interconnected between large and small, so the ownership lays intersections. There was a need to develop sustainable and right-sized solutions for small to secure distribution grid.

The NRECA has developed the solution from three perspectives. The first was to define the requirements for sustainability, if it did not necessarily have to be advanced, but rather a community-oriented, affordable, and interoperable solution.

The second requirement was to support small utilities decision-making. It should incentivize them and support their change. The third requirement was to provide a workforce solution. IT staff is only two or fewer in 65% of the distribution cooperatives, requiring a hybrid operation of human and automation.

She said the NRECA launched Threat Analysis Center (TAC) as a solution.

TAC is a tool and community that enables co-ops to focus on the cyber threats that matter, respond quickly with the necessary expertise, and engage with the wider threat intelligence community without sacrificing

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