Energising the future with robust cybersecurity
Energising the future with robust cybersecurity
Without a secure and resilient energy system, entire industries would grind to a halt. And in recent years, several trends have made it even more critical to establish strong security policies in the energy industry.
Digitalisation, automation, and technologies such as 5G and the internet of things (IoT) are enabling unprecedented optimisations in the sector. However, these are also presenting new opportunities for attacks and disruptions. Smart grids and IoT-powered devices at home increase energy systems’ interconnectedness and render the components more vulnerable to cyber threats.
The push towards sustainable energy also calls for a more decentralised and networked electricity system, broadening the attack surface.
Market reforms likewise allow new actors—from energy companies to energy communities and citizens—to participate in the industry. Many will not have adequate cybersecurity skills.
To make matters worse, market forces don’t adequately incentivise energy players to make security investments, which means regulation and the public sector may need to pick up the slack.
All these pose additional challenges for electricity-dependent operators of essential services (OES) and critical infrastructures (KRITIS), who are already under pressure to guarantee aboveboard cybersecurity.
The security standards applied to typical information technology systems may be insufficient for your energy systems’ peculiar needs. The consequences of disruptions are far-reaching, and you will need to be aware to the following:
Energy grids are more likely to use a combination of legacy and newer technologies because energy system components typically have lengthy lifespans; old components will remain in use long after newer ones are deployed into the system. This calls for complex security measures: newer devices may be governed by cybersecurity certifications, but older ones will need to be protected differently.
Across the globe, regulations regarding minimum security requirements may vary. Some mandate the preparation of advanced business continuity plans, the appointment of a Security Liaison Officer to coordinate with national authorities, and the certification of products, services, and processes.
Energy grids also demand real-time response: industrial control systems must react within seconds to balance supply and demand at any given moment. This means that sophisticated yet lengthy authentication procedures may not be suitable for energy systems.
Disruptions in energy systems could have massive cascading effects. The interconnectedness of power grids means a serious disruption in one part of the system could spread to other grids, which could then lead to blackouts over wide areas. Electricity-dependent essential services—such as water supply, transportation, telecommunications, and finance—will be affected.
At TÜV SÜD, we understand the peculiarities of your industry. We have extensive experience providing energy service solutions: we’ve helped optimize power plant processes, delivered technical advice on energy management, and run energy simulations to make sure clients’ investments are profitable.
With us, you get technical expertise and unbiased advice.
Our engineering proficiency, industry accreditations, and ties to international standardization committees allow us to help you incorporate digital technologies safely and effectively. We are an independent (not stock listed) partner, so you can be sure you’re getting guidance you can trust.
Bolstering cybersecurity awareness and capabilities
Minimising cyber risks is of utmost importance in the energy industry, as even minor disruptions and breaches could have widespread consequences. To do this, your company needs to boost cybersecurity awareness and develop the necessary information technology (IT) skillset.
Developing products following security-by-design principles
You must be proactive by incorporating security and resilience into the very bones of products and services. Cybersecurity should be top of mind from day one of product development, embedded in the design phase.
Securing remote assets, ensuring uninterrupted service
For energy systems, IT security must be robust enough to protect assets remotely. IT infrastructure also needs to be reliable, secure, and up-to-date to reduce the likelihood of disruptions.
Getting real-time updates on security gaps
To prevent disruptions and security breaches from creating ripple effects throughout the grid, you need instantaneous visibility and control of your systems
Mitigating risks along the value chain
The interconnected nature of energy systems warrants a comprehensive approach to cybersecurity. To stay ahead of attackers, it’s not enough to secure just your organisation; your global digital supply chains, including second and third-tier suppliers, must strengthen their defenses as well.
Preventing costly penalties and reputational harm
Breaches can damage your reputation; failing to meet regulatory requirements can result in expensive penalties. But with strong cybersecurity practices, you can minimise these risks and gain a competitive edge.