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Adlan Hussain, Product Marketing

As noted in the Wall Street Journal in February 2023, physical attacks on the U.S. power grid rose 71% last year compared with 2021 and will likely increase this year.

The U.S. power grid is of critical importance to our national security and economic security, but in an increasingly connected world where physical and cyber attacks are becoming more frequent, executives must be aware of the potential risks posed by malicious actors targeting their power grids. In recent years, malicious actors have increased their efforts to penetrate and damage U.S. power grids through both physical and cyber attacks. This has been seen with the North Korean WannaCry ransomware attack on American energy companies in 2021, as well as other attacks on American nuclear and power infrastructure over the past few years. Malicious actors may also target the grid for financial gain or simply for disruption, making it essential for executives to stay vigilant when it comes to protecting their company’s systems from all types of security threats.

What is critical infrastructure protection?

Critical infrastructure protection (CIP) refers to the efforts to safeguard the essential systems and assets that are vital to the functioning of a society, economy, or nation-state. These systems and assets fall within key critical infrastructure sectors that are considered essential to the functioning of a nation and its people. These sectors are typically identified by governments and international organizations and are recognized as critical because they are vulnerable to physical and cyber threats and attacks that could cause significant harm or disruption to society.

The critical infrastructure sectors can vary slightly depending on the country or organization defining them, but generally, they include power grids, water treatment facilities, transportation networks, communication systems, financial institutions, and other critical facilities. These sectors are interdependent and interconnected, meaning that an attack or disruption in one sector can have a cascading effect on other sectors and society as a whole.

The aim of CIP is to prevent, detect, and respond to any physical or cyber threats that may impact the availability, integrity, or reliability of these critical infrastructures. CIP involves a wide range of activities, such as

  • Risk assessment
  • Vulnerability analysis
  • Threat detection
  • Emergency response planning
  • Cybersecurity measures

What elements of the power grid are considered CIP?

The United States power grid consists of key elements that all need to be protected, which include;

  • Generation: The power grid begins with power plants, which produce electricity from a variety of sources, including fossil fuels, nuclear energy, and renewable resources like solar and wind.
  • Transmission: Once electricity is generated, it is sent over long distances through high-voltage transmission lines to substations.
  • Substations: These facilities step down the high-voltage electricity to lower voltages for distribution to local areas.
  • Distribution: Local distribution systems then deliver the electricity to homes, businesses, and other users.
  • Control systems: The power grid is monitored and controlled by sophisticated computer systems that ensure the proper balance of supply and demand and help prevent blackouts and other disruptions.
  • Workforce: A skilled workforce is necessary to operate and maintain the power grid. This includes engineers, technicians, electricians, and other professionals.

Ensuring the security and protection of these assets is critical for the functioning of society and the economy, and any disruption or attack on these power grid elements can have significant consequences. Therefore, efforts to protect the power grid from physical and cyber threats are a key component of critical infrastructure protection.

What can be done to protect critical infrastructure

Power grid operators must take a proactive approach when it comes to protecting all of the elements highlighted above. Companies should regularly assess and address weaknesses in their systems, adopt the latest technologies, and stay up to date with government regulations concerning critical infrastructure protection.

Fortunately, there are steps businesses can take to protect their operations from attack. The U.S. government has a set of regulations which sets out guidelines for how companies should implement critical infrastructure protection to protect their power grids from threat actors and other accidents that could cause ballistic damage or other forms of destruction to infrastructure and private utilities operations. Companies should strive to comply with these standards in order to remain secure against malicious intrusions and vandalism, both physical or digital.

Technologies such as Physical Security Information Management can be used to monitor their perimeter and detect threats before they have the chance to penetrate the system. Companies should also look into investing in physical security measures such as surveillance cameras, video analytics, perimeter intrusion detection systems and hostile vehicle mitigation systems.

On the digital side, cyber-attacks are becoming more prevalent for disrupting normal operations. Whether intentional harm or a way to try new code, attackers are actively looking at utilities as a way to cripple both the economy and our daily lives.  While we saw the effects of the Colonial Pipeline attack, it is now realized the payoff can be beneficial and because of this more vulnerabilities are being sought after and exposed. This can be anything from passwords being leaked to legacy systems that have not been updated. Operators now have more pressure to ensure systems are up to date and there is visibility into all systems while staying current with governmental regulations.

To ensure performance in all aspects of grid operations, technology to facilitate and automate the response to incidents can be put in place with a digital operations platform. Bolstering resilience by assessing, acting, and analyzing incidents, disruptions can be handled efficiently and effectively prior to affecting customers and improving responses to future events.

By taking these steps—and staying up-to-date with government regulations—executives can ensure that their businesses remain safe against any type of attack while continuing to provide reliable service for customers across the country. Additionally, it is important for companies to build strong relationships with public security agencies like the Department of Homeland Security and local agencies to share information on threats both at a national and local level.

Contact us to learn how Everbridge can help safeguard your organization with a digital operations platform.

Ensure the smooth continuity of your business. Whether the issue is a security breach or a data leak, Everbridge Signal can help.

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Everbridge partner Atos, a global leader in cloud and the digital workplace, recently published an interesting take on the future of work and how new technology trends will impact businesses and employees alike, now and in years to come. The company suggests that the combination of 5G and technologically augmented humans will drive some of the most significant changes in the way we work.

According to Atos, 5G will make the employee experience more satisfying and give workers new tools to assist people remotely, while also generating valuable feedback and data, thanks to connected devices. Moreover, their experts note that “giving humans bionic or biologically-inspired capabilities that exceed their natural abilities, like upgrading human vision” could potentially boost the productivity and effectiveness of workforces.

No matter what the future holds, there will always be a need to protect and safeguard workforces. Software Solutions that help companies ensure resilience remain a key work investment trend, and the pandemic has only increased the focus on an organization’s responsibility for employee wellbeing.

Fortunately, solutions exist today to help businesses protect their employees, mitigate threats, and build lasting resilience against future risks.

Benefits of Software Include:

Fulfilling  Duty of Care

  • Keep an organization’s digital and physical environments safe and secure.
  • Protect against individual online vulnerability.
  • Provide proper ergonomic office equipment and/or safety equipment, such as access to a fire extinguisher.
  • Facilitate open avenues of communication to always ensure employee wellness and safety, especially during risk events.

Digital Security

    • Identify insider threats without a common workspace or hours.
    • Safeguard information stored by remote employees’ devices.
    • Ensure confidentiality in spaces that do not belong to the organization, such as flexible workspaces or meet-up locations.
    • Manage access and control across potentially thousands of devices and locations.

Physical  Security

  • Protect all employees—whether in the office, at remote sites, or traveling—against severe weather events, violence, and other threats.
  • Facilitate a safe return to physical offices, e.g., regular wellness checks and/or safe level of occupancy.

To address these challenges, companies can benefit from the implementation of Critical Event Management (CEM) solutions, which offer a holistic approach to threats through software automation. CEM is crucial for the new workforce because it is not threat- or vulnerability-specific. The more dispersed a workforce becomes with the new hybrid work model, the more threats they may encounter, whether it is a cyber disruption, terrorist activity, severe weather, or an IT incident.

All these events impact a company’s ability to maintain an operational tempo that leads to success, and so security professionals must have a solution that can successfully address a multitude of threats in various locations due to employees working remotely. Companies that can identify threats on the front end before they manifest and shorten the recovery time once an event has occurred put themselves in a better competitive position against other companies in the same space.

With the addition of human augmentation, the CEM ecosystem can ensure that employee safety only gets better. It will share critical information about their wellbeing, as well as insights about their surrounding work environment. Expanded CEM coverage means organizations are more informed about the status of infrastructure, other colleagues, and much more.

As we look to the future, technological advancements that increase productivity and work satisfaction will continue to go hand-in-hand with technology that keeps employees safe.

Everbridge offers numerous solutions that help companies fulfill their duty of care and drive effective digital and physical security so that risks can be identified, prevented, mitigated, and repaired. To learn more, visit, Atos at, or read about our joint partnership here Everbridge & Atos Joint Value.

To be successful in a technologically advanced world, you must continually improve your digital services to meet changing customer expectations. However, sometimes rapid changes can cause problems – and you don’t want to be caught on your back foot when it happens. Automated incident response can help your organization combat the growing pains change brings by automating workflows for remediation while in the office or asleep in bed, delivering exceptional customer experiences around the clock while meeting the demands of 21st-century businesses.

In this blog, we’ll explore the benefits of automated incident response by gleaning insight from Franz Kjartansson of Advania Island, who explains how his company uses automated incident response from Everbridge for quicker remediation and streamlined incident management.

Advania Island Adopts Automated Incident Response

No two incidents are the same, which is why your incident response must be capable of pivoting at a moment’s notice. For Advania Island, this means having the right strategy to combat incidents as they occur – preventing a full-blown business crisis. According to Franz Kjartansson of Advania Island, before adopting automated incident response, ‘troubleshooting and addressing problems took more manpower and resources,’ increasing remediation times and making it more difficult to conduct business.

Benefits of Automated Incident Response

Unlike conventional incident response, which uses IT and DevOps teams stationed around the clock, automated incident response relies on technology to detect, respond, and resolve an incident. By switching from a conventional to automated incident response, organizations can identify problems before they impact business – improving consumer trust and profitability while increasing resiliency.

While increased resilience is typically the ultimate goal for businesses switching to automated incident response, there are numerous other benefits automated incident response can bring your organization, including:

  • Faster response times
  • Lowered costs
  • Optimized threat intelligence
  • Streamlined operations
  • Reduced cyber security impact
  • Simplified technology and tools integration
  • Automated reporting and metrics capabilities
  • Reduced manual operations and standardization of processes

Improve Your Digital Services

For Advania Island, switching to automated incident response from Everbridge helped preserve business in the Nordic region while securing resilience for years to come. By switching from conventional incident response to an automated approach, Franz Kjartansson and the rest of Advania Island were able to simplify their response to incidents while also reducing human labor, lowering costs, and streamlining operations.

To learn how Everbridge can help your organization improve its incident response for better resiliency, explore our on-demand webinar “The Impact of Automating Incident Response.”

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