Sustainability and Cybersecurity: The Unexpected Dynamic Duo of the Energy Transition
As we continue to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels, we risk becoming more vulnerable if we don’t start associating climate resiliency with cyber resiliency.
Sustainability and cybersecurity are rarely mentioned in the same sentence. Sustainability is tangible: On a given day, you might see electric vehicles zooming down the street, wind farms dotting the countryside, and rain gardens collecting and conserving water. By contrast, nearly all cybersecurity solutions fall into the background of our daily lives. We turn the lights on, browse the internet, make phone calls, and use smart thermostats without seeing the vast infrastructure underpinning our technology.
And yet, the infrastructure needed to enable our sustainable future requires far greater levels of cybersecurity than previously managed. Introducing new technology to power and manage the grid has prompted new cybersecurity challenges for energy companies, from utilities to electric vehicle operators. As we continue to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels, we risk becoming more vulnerable if we don’t start associating climate resiliency with cyber resiliency.
The Colonial Pipeline ransomware attack last year and the recent North Korean state-sponsored espionage on US energy providers are just two examples of how disruptive the consequences of cyberattacks can be to the energy systems we rely on. This means companies driving the energy transition—utilities, power producers, renewable energy companies, suppliers, and service providers—have an additional responsibility to prepare for (and mitigate) cybersecurity risks.