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Systems Approach Solution: Cyber Security and Power Industry Resilience

Systems Approach Solution: Cyber Security and Power Industry Resilience

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The United Kingdom Energy sector powers homes and supports businesses, delivering a major contribution to the economy. In this article, the author looks at the increasing complexity and interconnectivity of generation and supply technology, and the potential vulnerabilities that could impact upon the power industry, characterising the challenges that companies face in developing organisational-level resilience strategies. Resilience enables an organisation to respond to change and disruption, understand risks, and gain a competitive and reputational edge. A company can measure the resilience of its tangible elements, but assessing the security of intangible elements such as cultural ethos is more complex. One approach to this complexity is to apply a systems approach, structuring the available mix of data for analysis to understand an organisation and assess its resilience, enabling recommendations to support management and investment decisions in key areas including cyber security. The author illustrates a fictional case study, in which a renewable generation company discovers gaps in its cyber security resilience, and the steps it might take. The key challenge for the power sector is to develop a sound understanding of the vulnerabilities of its systems, and to put in both the appropriate engineered controls and related societal, cultural and organisational controls.

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