Cyber-attacks remain a top business risk for all utilities and municipalities, increasing in frequency, severity, and sophistication. At the top of the cyber-attack list? Ransomware. The recent attack on the Colonial Pipeline is focusing heavy attention on the threat of ransomware on U.S. energy infrastructure. The bottom line: planning is everything. Learn the three best practices for preparing for a ransomware attack and how to create a detailed incident response plan that prevents paralysis should the worst happen.
Cyber Liability Insurance
Environmental perils rank among the highest in Marsh’s Global Risks Report 2021, specifically extreme weather, failure to address climate change, and environmental damage from human activity. These perils can lead to expensive clean-up measures and tort liability. U.S. municipalities and their community-owned utilities should adapt their business model to these realities and include environmental insurance coverage in their risk transfer strategy.
Front page headlines, consumer panic, political fallout, and a $5 million ransom paid. The attack on the largest fuel pipeline in the U.S. is focusing attention on the vulnerability of our energy infrastructure like never before. With people lining up at gas stations when facing only a few days of a shortage, imagine the reaction to the local electric grid being down for who knows how long. It’s beyond time for all municipalities and their utility departments to build out their cyber defenses.
To provide customers with several payment options, the Utilities Department of the Village of Jackson Center in Ohio accepts bank account direct and credit card payments. To ensure the security of customer information and thwart cyber intrusions overall, Jackson Center took advantage of cybersecurity services offered by its electric service wholesale supplier, American Municipal Power, Inc. (AMP). With the help of an assessment conducted by AMP personnel, Jackson Center has developed a culture of cyber vigilance and addresses vulnerabilities through an effective step-by-step process that is manageable for a small staff.
Due to recent news coverage of a major cyber penetration of U.S. government agencies and corporations across the globe, cybersecurity is front and center for city governments and their municipal utility departments. Before reaching out to consultants prepared to help evaluate cyber vulnerabilities and design a protection program, each community-owned utility should gather a baseline of information about their cybersecurity status. This outline will help the utility and potential consultants focus more quickly on the issues to be addressed.
You don’t need to be an expert in IT or have a huge consulting budget to champion your utility’s cybersecurity program. First and foremost, you must recognize that every city employee, utility employee, and governing official plays a key role in maintaining a cyber defense that protects business operations.
To meet public power’s need for cybersecurity solutions that are comprehensive and cost effective, Hometown Connections, Inc. has launched a Cybersecurity Management Program for public power electric, gas, water, and wastewater utilities and other city departments. Hometown Connections is helping community-owned organizations across the United States evaluate their cybersecurity requirements, develop plans for cyber risk management, and deploy effective cybersecurity defenses that include ongoing monitoring, training, remediation, and maintenance services.
Understand the cyber threat landscape, learn how to estimate the true financial costs of a cyber crime, and get tips on building your budget and risk management strategies. Register for this two-part webinar series to be held in June 2020 by the American Public Power Association Academy. Speakers include representatives from AESI-US, Inc. and Marsh Wortham Power Gen Insurance, marketing partners of Hometown Connections Inc.
For cyber criminals and the organizations they are targeting, it’s the wild west out there. The scourge of COVID-19 is driving workers to log in from home and widening the utility attack surface even further. Community-owned utilities are victims of ransomware and other attacks at an alarming rate. As part of their cybersecurity risk management efforts, utilities should investigate the financial and operational security provided by the cyber liability insurance program from Marsh Wortham Power Gen Insurance through Hometown Connections, Inc.
The COVID-19 pandemic raises many issues for both insureds and insurers. As events continue to unfold, organizations should work closely with their advisors and counsel to address their myriad concerns. In a new report, COVID-19: Evolving Insurance and Risk Management Implications, Marsh provides an overview of some of the key coverage, claims, and risk management areas related to the pandemic and also looks at how businesses can actively respond to current effects while continuing to plan and prepare for future ones.