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New DOE guide focuses on building in cybersecurity protection during product design and manufacturing

From the April 29, 2014 issue of Public Power Daily

Originally published April 29, 2014

The Energy Department yesterday released new guidance to help strengthen energy delivery system cybersecurity by providing strategies and suggested language to help the energy sector and technology suppliers build in cybersecurity protections during product design and manufacturing. APPA applauded the new guide, Cybersecurity Procurement Language for Energy Delivery Systems, which was developed by a public-private working group.

"The new guidelines from the Department of Energy will be helpful in advancing the security precautions of public power utilities," said APPA President and CEO Sue Kelly. "By building a foundation of cybersecurity in collaboration with vendors, we can reduce the risk of successful cyber-attacks on energy delivery systems."

The guide focuses on helping utilities and other energy sector organizations purchase technologies that include cybersecurity protections and features. That should improve the overall reliability and security of energy delivery systems and ensure that the testing, manufacturing, delivery, and installation of new technologies emphasize cybersecurity requirements, DOE said.

"This guideline will help utility managers leverage the procurement experience of other utilities on the leading edge of grid technology," said Nathan Mitchell, director of electric reliability standards and compliance at APPA. "Building a foundation of cybersecurity in collaboration with vendors will help reduce the risk of successful cyber attacks on next-generation systems," he added. 

"Managing supply chain risk is a key cybersecurity challenge," said White House Cybersecurity Coordinator Michael Daniel. The new guidance "will enable organizations to use the principles in the new Cybersecurity Framework to address supply chain considerations."

Public power utilities are well aware of the importance of proper protections and have been focused on cyber and physical security, assessing and addressing potential safety risks, APPA said. "We’ve been upping our game since 2001, before we had any guidance or standards," Kelly said. "There are more than 2,000 public power utilities serving 48 million Americans and we know that grid security is paramount," she added. 


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