Singapore: The Cybersecurity Act will improve security culture across utilities in Asia – Black & Veatch

Singapore’s Cybersecurity Act is expected to bring up levels of cyber security awareness among oil & gas, power, and water utilities in Singapore as well as other parts of Asia, according to a security expert in Black & Veatch. Strategic Directions: Electric Industry Report, released by Black & Veatch in 2016, ranked cybersecurity as the second most pressing issue for electric utilities, with the first being reliability.

The Cybersecurity Strategy was launched in November 2016, and the Cybersecurity Act is expected to be tabled with Parliament in 2017.

“As we’ve seen across the world’s banking and financial sector, utilities in Asia are now also realising the need to build a security risk culture beyond the IT (Information Technology) department,” Senior Manager Director of Black & Veatch’s global Security, Risk & Resilience practice, Dave Mayers, said in a news release. “Singapore’s Cybersecurity Strategy does a good job underlining the importance for critical utilities to adopt a cybersecurity framework across the entire organisation.”

As Asia’s economies and populations continue to grow, operations at critical human infrastructure facilities – such as oil & gas, power, and water – are modernising, and while the advances in technology allow utilities to achieve substantial operational benefits, the arrival of smart grids, smart metering and Internet of Things (IoT) also brings increasing security threats and risks to utility assets and operations.

“While advances in smart grids and IoT technologies greatly enhance utility management, they are introducing new interdependencies and vulnerabilities across utilities’ entire asset and distribution portfolio,” Harry Harji, Senior Manager Director of Black & Veatch’s management consulting business in Asia, said. “With such fast paced development, infrastructure owners need to secure their assets from sophisticated cyber attacks as well as physical threats through their front door.”