How water companies are playing their part to support our wildlife and environment

September 12, 2018

The cyber security threat facing the water utility sector

With Cyber Awareness Month underway, we thought we would revisit the ‘2017-2021 Water Sector Cyber Security Strategy’ – published by the Department for Environment Food & Rural Affairs – and take a closer look at the cyber threats currently facing the water utility sector.

Because the water sector is part of the UK’s critical national infrastructure, it is no surprise that it is a big target for cyber criminals and as systems become more advanced with increased automation and connectivity; the threat rises. It is stated in the strategy that the vision for 2021 is a secure, effective, and confident water sector, resilient to the ever-evolving cyber threat.

Cyber security presents an enduring challenge and in order to manage these risks more effectively, cyber risk reviews, carried out by government experts, identified a wide range of opportunities to implement a higher-level of cyber security practice:

  • Architectural design/separation of Information Technology (IT) and Operational Technology (OT)
  • Common cyber security management of IT and OT
  • Protective monitoring
  • Cyber security and awareness training
  • Cyber incident response planning and exercising
  • Cyber risk from third parties

We have highlighted cyber awareness training as we have developed a culture where cyber security is limited to I.T, but cyber-attacks can target any member of an organisation and awareness training is key – especially considering that over 90% of successful cyber breaches fall down to human error.

Developing a robust strategy for cyber security will require a collaborative approach with the government, but the water sector must fully understand and manage risks to their physical and information assets, including Critical National Infrastructure. The sector, therefore, has primary responsibility for the security of their systems and information.

Our sister company, Intelligencia Training, provides an effective training course, developed by their strategic partner Intqual-Pro, to minimise the cyber threat generated by a lack of employee awareness and confidence to act. The Cyber Stars Initiative is the only cyber security awareness programme with an official UK Government regulated qualification attached and is far more than just a training course, or even a qualification. The course provides a sustainable solution to cyber security awareness in an ever-evolving landscape.

You can find out more about the Cyber Stars Initiative at: www.intelligenciatraining.com/cyber-stars/.

To read the full ‘2017-2021 Water Sector Cyber Security Strategy’ visit: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/602379/water-sector-cyber-security-strategy-170322.pdf

About Watertrain

Watertrain has been the leading provider of apprenticeships and other qualifications to the water utility sector since 2007 and have a long track record of delivering apprenticeships for clients in the water utility sector. Based in Birchwood Park, Warrington, you can contact Watertrain on 03330 431 431 or email info@watertrain.co.uk.