Security Evolved: Protect Your Business & The Utility Infrastructure
Know your threats. Secure your systems and data, while improving efficiency in your organization.
Date : August 3, 2016
Utilities are an extremely attractive target for cyber-attackers. Make sure your security posture not only meets regulatory compliance requirements but is able to adapt and scale with an ever-evolving industry and threat landscape.
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Industry:

Are you keeping pace with Utility of the Future?

Utilities represent an extremely attractive target for cyber activists, terrorists, and criminals due to criticality of the systems they operate. Furthermore, some utilities are pioneering the Utility of the Future paradigm by providing innovative offerings beyond just their core, such as fiber to the home, smart streetlights, and other smart city applications.

This  rapid innovation in smart technologies comes with higher expectations from customers for safety, reliability, and security, especially in light of recently publicized service outages and data breaches due to cyber-attacks. The growing interconnectedness of systems and services within utilities creates even more opportunities for breaches, which utilities must identify and address to protect their infrastructure investments and communities.

It is only with thoughtful investment in cybersecurity that utilities will be able to respond to new risks and responsibilities, while maintaining customer confidence and service profitability. Consider:

  • Does your security program respond to evolving shifts in utility services? 
  • Are your security tools and processes effectively addressing both IT and OT business services?
  • Do your business line executives understand the value of the security investments?
  • Do you have a roadmap to mitigate your risks and continuously improve your program as threats evolve?
  • Can you obtain a single view of the threats and incident impacts of your IT and OT environments?
  • Are you confident that you are identifying all threats and risks that could result in a compromise of your business or utility infrastructure?

 A strategy that works

Many utilities take a compliance approach, viewing security as a “checkbox” intended to satisfy regulatory requirements; however, the threat landscape evolves much faster than government regulations. Compliance should be the bare minimum result, not the objective. At the same time, security tools are not the end-all-be-all solution to mitigate security risks, as commonly perceived, and may lead to a false sense of security if not operationalized effectively.

Your security approach must consider not only the technology, but also the people and processes. An effective, holistic security program based on your business requirements will reduce your risk, allow you to optimize your investments and help you build a culture of security awareness within your organization. 

West Monroe takes a risk-based approach to protecting your organization and providing solutions that address the specific threats the utility industry is facing. While other firms approach security with a one-size-fits-all framework, we recognize that each of our clients have different business objectives, risk tolerances, and regulatory burdens to consider. Our uncommon blend of industry specialists, security strategists, and technologists helps you find the right balance to mitigate your risks effectively.

World-class cybersecurity offerings

West Monroe Partners helps utilities improve their security posture and reduce the likelihood and impact of security threats. With a deep understanding of the utility industry and the threats organizations face, we recognize that security is not solely an IT problem and provide solutions covering people, process and technology across the enterprise.  

Our security offerings are designed to improve our clients’ ability to identify, protect, detect, respond to, and recover from security incidents.

In addition to helping protect SCADA communications, AMI, FAN, grid automation, customer data, and ultimately your reputation, our approach improves collaboration between the business, IT, OT, security and compliance teams and helps non-technologists in your organization understand and participate in cybersecurity conversations.  Security is then aligned with your business objectives when making strategic decisions.

Initiatives to improve security can be beneficial to the business:

  • Consolidation of tools to strengthen operational processes and reduce the likelihood of a breach going unnoticed 
  • Upgrading technologies to enhance, protect and detect capabilities that will reduce the likelihood and impact of a breach 
  • Rationalizing security tool and operational investments to identify cost saving opportunities
  • Foster collaboration between business, IT, and OT, security and compliance to ensure security is considered in the decision making process and that security is a part of the utility’s culture

Security Strategy & Roadmap

Our security experts identify your current security posture and then align security with your business objectives in order to determine the appropriate desired state.

We then provide a strategic roadmap to guide you towards your desired state with prioritized initiatives designed to mature controls and reduce the likelihood and impact of security incidents. 

Our solutions cover people, process and technology to set you on a path to continually improve your security posture. We emphasize security as a component of a utility’s risk management approach and focus on strategic solutions, helping you operationalize your security investments.

Cybersecurity Tools & Threat Analysis

We help utilities optimize their cybersecurity tools and supporting processes to improve their ability to identify, protect, detect, respond to and recover from security incidents. With an understanding of your need to protect your infrastructure, communications, and customer data, we review each tool and provide a detailed report of coverage, configuration, and process that highlights whether:

  • The tools are the appropriate for the function they perform
  • The tools have been deployed and configured appropriately
  • Policies and procedures are in place for maintaining the tools over time

In addition to improving the security strategy of the organization, our clients also benefit from understanding when to upgrade to technologies that offer new features and capabilities.

A customized security and tools strategy, based on your business and industry needs, ultimately helps you create an entire organizational culture focused on security. That’s business in the right direction.
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