Cyber security has become an increasingly important issue for organizations in every sector. But one of the most attractive and often vulnerable targets is a utility company. Such organizations as the U.S. Government Accounting Office (GAO) have been ringing the alarm about utility company weaknesses recently, noting weaknesses throughout the transmission systems.
Utility companies have been aware of such risks for years, but as threats grow in scale, utility companies need to step up their risk-monitoring operations. However, this can be easier said than done for many companies, and the entire issue can be a monstrous headache.
The key issues currently faced by utility companies
First, utilities are typically constrained by their budgets. Because they need to justify their revenue and spending to regulators and the public, there’s little leftover to work with. Instead, utility managers look for ways to curtail spending by looking at where they’re wasting resources and make needed changes.
Simultaneously, those managers need to be sure they’re fully apprising their boards of the risks the utility may be running. This can be challenging, given the range of information they need to gather and assess to provide an accurate depiction.
Monitoring cyber threats accurately – the move from spreadsheets to software
Recently, a utility company that had hired a new CISO contacted Acuity. The CISO decided the utility’s manual systems for gathering data – relying on Microsoft Excel – were slow and inadequate. Not only was it difficult to keep the board fully informed, but the process could also take weeks of compiling reports for regulators.
The utility switched to Acuity’s STREAM platform. In just four weeks, they were able to fully transfer data-collecting and reporting processes from Excel to Acuity’s cloud-based solution.
Now their staff is able to concentrate on more strategic tasks rather than spending days, weeks and months collecting information. More importantly, it better prepares the organisation to detect and prevent cyber threats and other risks to its operations. This gives reassurance to everyone – the regulators, the board, management and indirectly, the public itself.
If your utility organisation is experiencing similar issues, contact us and we’ll gladly explain how STREAM can help. Also, STREAM can help organisations of all types efficiently collect, monitor and act upon critical information to manage risk properly.