The Future of Water & Wastewater Cybersecurity | WWD Weekly Digest

Sept. 16, 2021
Cybersecurity for water and wastewater utilities has become a growing conversation in the wake of newsworthy threats in Oldsmar, Florida and the Colonial Pipeline hack.

Cybersecurity for water and wastewater utilities has become a growing conversation in the wake of newsworthy threats in Oldsmar, Florida and the Colonial Pipeline hack. While the municipal water and wastewater industries may be lagging on this front, people like Eric Thornburg, CEO and president of SJW Group, are taking steps to ensure the industry is at the table of national conversations about cybersecurity threats.

Thornburg recently was part of a Presidential Panel on cybersecurity threats including thought leaders from all utility industries (electric, gas, traffic, internet, etc.). Thornburg remarked on the importance of being a part of this conversations for information sharing and best practices. He also notes the most vulnerable aspects of the water and wastewater industry from the cyber threat perspective, how utilities can take incremental steps to improve security and the role the federal government and states should take in protecting water and wastewater systems.

  • Intro: (0:00)
  • What is SJW Group and what does it do: (0:32)
  • What are the common cyber threats for water and wastewater utilities?: (1:32)
  • How industry fragmentation creates some protections: (3:03)
  • The most vulnerable parts of water and wastewater systems: (4:21)
  • The criticality of utility collaboration on security issues: (7:25)
  • How SJW Group approaches cybersecurity: (9:03)
  • Use a crawl, walk run approach to building protections: (12:03)
  • Cybersecurity education is vital: (13:26)
  • Federal and state roles in establishing water and wastewater cybersecurity: (14:42)
  • Breaking down utility silos for information sharing and best practices: (17:33)
  • Outro and housekeeping: (19:22)

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