Critical Infrastructure Sectors Energy and Water: Identifying Risks and Defending Against Dangers

Comprehensive hazard management in critical infrastructures ensures that society is maintained in the event of a crisis

Essential services and stable supply flows: The task of companies that belong to the critical infrastructures - CRITIS for short - is enormous. After all, they form the basis for a functioning society. The industries that are assigned to the CRITIS sectors of energy and water have a particularly high significance - after all, all supply threads come together in them. Due to their high social and economic relevance, precisely these sectors are particularly at risk. According to the German Federal Office for Information Security (BSI), attacks on the energy and water sectors have increased significantly in recent years. At the same time, the Situation Report of IT Security in Germany 2020 found deficiencies in the areas of network separation, physical security and emergency management in these very sectors. With the implementation of innovative security management software from primion, vulnerabilities can be targeted, supply bottlenecks prevented and ultimately disruptions to public safety minimised.

Energy supply and water: special protection for central CRITIS areas

In Germany, the following sectors are considered to be Critical Infrastructures:  

  • Energy
  • Water
  • Food
  • Information technology and telecommunications
  • Health
  • Finance and Insurance  
  • Transport and Traffic  
  • Media and Culture
  • Municipal Waste Management  
  • Government and administration

The CRITIS Ordinance (KRITISV) of the Federal Office for Information Security in Germany defines sector-dependent thresholds for system operators, which are used to decide whether a company is classified as Critical Infrastructure in Germany.

Individual sectors are assigned to each CRITIS sector. For example, the CRITIS sector energy includes gas, mineral oil and district heating in addition to the electricity sector; the water sector includes public water supply as well as public sewage disposal. These CRITIS companies are considered central sectors of Critical Infrastructures. A failure in one of their sectors has a direct impact on the other sectors and thus decisively on the community. In order to prevent worst-case scenarios such as area-wide power failures or a manipulated drinking water supply, it is important for CRITIS operators to identify and avert dangers at an early stage. Comprehensive hazard management, such as that provided by primion's pSM security management software, is mandatory for all CRITIS companies in Germany. The security standards are regulated by law in the German Security Act (BSI Act) combined with the German CRITIS Ordinance (KRITISV).

Security management software for danger prevention in CRITIS companies

Clearly arranged, intuitive to use and individually scalable: With the primion control centre system pSM - the intelligent security management software - CRITIS companies can bundle their hazard management on a single platform. All security-relevant applications in access control, building and fire protection and video surveillance can be checked and controlled in this way. Since the primion system is compatible with third-party systems, existing security solutions from different manufacturers can be brought together in primion's pSM. All messages and statistics are documented and can be called up as evaluations at any time. Installations and system changes, as well as data management, are carried out in the security-relevant system database. This is located on the pSM server and, as a stable, server-side database, offers the highest level of sabotage protection.

Securely into the future: targeted use of innovative software solutions in CRITIS sectors

Increasing digitalisation: Like all other sectors, it also poses new challenges for CRITIS companies. On the one hand, thanks to digital possibilities, security-relevant processes can be better monitored - for example, the temperature development in reactors for energy production. On the other hand, the CRITIS are becoming increasingly interconnected, especially the interdependencies between the CRITIS sector of energy and other critical infrastructures are growing. If failures occur in one sector, the domino effect occurs. Without power supply, drinking water supply systems would collapse, the cash economy would come to a standstill, cash register systems in supermarkets would no longer function, internet and telephone would fail. In short: the social and economic community would come to a standstill due to the interdependencies between the CRITIS sectors!

With advancing digital and automated processes, the importance of Critical Infrastructures for nationwide life will continue to increase in the future. Upcoming energy systems will be increasingly networked with information technology; reliable technology is a prerequisite for their proper functioning. Innovative security solutions from primion for comprehensive, individually scalable threat management with automated workflows, effectively support CRITIS companies in providing and securing the foundations for a functioning society.

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