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Why Utilities Can’t Afford to Skimp on Disaster Recovery

Utility companies are a high-value target in the world of cyberterrorism.

If a breach knocks out utility infrastructure, an entire community can be disabled. The population could be plunged into darkness and/or denied water, heat, and fuel. This is the goal of many state-sponsored and independent hackers.

Cost of Breaches on the Rise in 2018

cost-of-data-breaches-on-the-rise-in-2018In the 2018 Cost of a Data Breach Study, the Ponemon Institute reported that the global average cost of a data breach is estimated to be $3.86 million in 2018, a rise of 6.4% over 2017. This figure is an average cost measured across multiple industries.

In addition to the measurable costs of an outage or a breach, utilities must calculate another cost: the importance of the power grid. For a utility, an outage or a breach is more than an inconvenience for its customers, our modern infrastructure depends on electricity. Without it, communities cannot function and people will likely suffer.

In the context of a natural disaster, the consequences of a power outage are magnified. Power is essential for the delivery of life’s most fundamental needs: food, shelter, and water. Without the electrical grid, life as we know it comes to a grinding halt.

A utility company cannot afford to skimp on disaster recovery, because power is an essential service.

Manage Your Risk

The key to successful disaster recovery is risk management. Companies that understand their risk for disaster and plan ahead can recover better, restore services faster, and keep their reputations intact. In the case of utilities, an outage is not just an inconvenience; it can mean life and death in a real disaster scenario. Therefore, disaster planning is not a luxury but a necessity.

The better prepared a utility is, the more quickly it can recover from the unavoidable (fire, flood, earthquake, etc.) and mitigate risk from the avoidable (equipment failure, breach, or user error).

The better you understand your risk, the better you can manage it.

Backup and Recovery Planning

data-protection-and-disaster-recovery-with-firstlight-solutionsModern software, IoT devices, and cloud infrastructure give utility companies unprecedented capabilities to:

  • Achieve complete grid visibility and control.
  • Receive alerts on suspicious activity
  • Be notified of equipment and transmission issues.

A technology partner can help you envision and design a backup and recovery solution that meets the unique needs of a utility company. A qualified partner can help with risk assessment, disaster recovery planning and infrastructure, training, and solution design.

DRaaS

Disaster recovery as a service makes it possible to achieve complete network visibility and control. With the aid of IoT devices, utilities can take DR a step further.

Eliminating a single point of failure and guaranteeing instant failover is essential to providing uninterrupted utility service. Disaster recovery as a service offers that capability.

In an upcoming article, we’ll look at how IoT is giving utility companies unprecedented visibility and control of their power grids.

Download our C-Level Guide to Managing Technology Risk and find out what steps you need to take to establish a solid DR plan.

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