When threats arise in the energy industry, how can utilities be prepared to respond quickly?
The simple answer is practice and communicate.
Grid security is one of WAPA’s top priorities. Staff throughout the organization participate in North American Electric Reliability Corporation’s GridEx practice events
to prepare for cyber and physical attacks on the bulk electric system, regularly incorporate security measures supporting NERC Critical Infrastructure Protection standards
and communicate with customers about successfully intercepting and eliminating system attacks so owners and operators can benefit from the analyzed trends. These efforts are part of WAPA’s ongoing cybersecurity and physical security programs.
On Sept. 8, Administrator and CEO Mark A. Gabriel and other WAPA senior managers attended the Electricity Information Sharing and Analysis Center meeting, in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Called E-ISAC for short, the organization operates on behalf of NERC, but is completely separate from NERC’s compliance enforcement, to provide security services to owner and operator organizations of the Bulk Electric System across North America. In doing so, it provides a community approach to security needs and concerns across the grid.
At the E-ISAC meeting, Gabriel shared information regarding media coverage of physical security topics and insights related to improving security information sharing and developing and improving broader security protocols.
“Attacks on the bulk electric system in one area affect the bigger picture; and it happens in a matter of minutes,” said Gabriel. “Through E-ISAC, we have an opportunity to build a trusted environment where security alerts can be shared, making it possible for those who need to know get the information first and fastest.”
Such a community can improve collective timeliness in response to events and create real-time, actionable items of support for utilities’ facilities and the grid. “E-ISAC provides an excellent way for us to all have eyes on the system and leverage one another’s insight for tighter, more comprehensive security,” said Gabriel.
Participation in E-ISAC is one of the many ways WAPA continues to evolve its cyber and physical security to meet the growing demands in the changing utility industry. For more information about E-ISAC, including how to join, visit the website at https://www.esisac.com/