Preparedness key for utilities to combat cyberattacks

October is cybersecurity monthRecently within the electric utility industry there have been a number of analogies made between cyberattacks and hurricanes. Utilities know they are both going to happen and know they cannot stop them. What they can do is prepare ahead of time to handle them and to recover quickly should they occur.

These were the sentiments of Great River Energy President and CEO David Saggau as he kicked off the second annual Great River Energy security summit Sept. 27 at the cooperative’s headquarters building in Maple Grove, Minn.

As a member of the Electricity Subsector Coordinating Council, Saggau received security information on the federal level and he opened the day sharing the industry’s challenges moving forward.

“We have no control over attempts of bad actors trying to break into our systems. But what we do have control over is how prepared we are before an attack occurs,” Saggau said. “We can be better prepared ahead of time by making investments, dedicating time and committing to training.”

To further expand on the activities happening at the federal level, Vice President and Chief Information Officer Jim Jones briefly spoke about the numerous committees, subcommittees and working groups Great River Energy is actively involved in.

“If we continue to engage with one another, collaborate and share information pertinent to cyber and physical security it can only put all of us in a better position to prepare for, prevent, protect against and respond to cyber incidents.” Jones said. “This summit is one way that we can leverage each other’s expertise to improve our collective security posture.”