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WASHINGTON (February 22, 2021) — The National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners Center for Partnerships and Innovation has released a new cybersecurity publication. A Guide for Public Utility Commissions: Recruiting and Retaining a Cybersecurity Workforce is a response to the evolving threat environment and provides state regulators with another tool in their cybersecurity arsenal.
Innovations in reliability and resilience across the energy sector, although of great value to users, have created more vulnerable pathways for hackers. If access points to critical operating systems are penetrated, it can pose lasting, long-term damage. Utility regulators — who are mandated to ensure safe and reliable utility services in spite of cybersecurity threats — are constrained by both a shortage of cybersecurity professionals and limited budgets.
With these constraints in mind, NARUC’s guide serves as an important tool to enable state public utility commissions to develop or expand cybersecurity proficiencies, understand how cyber experts typically function in a PUC environment and identify needed skill sets. The guide also provides other resources such as recruitment, retention and alternative tactics and examples of cybersecurity job descriptions.
In the foreword to the guide, Pennsylvania PUC Chairman Gladys Brown Dutrieuille explains the importance of cybersecurity expertise for state regulators.
“We all play a role in keeping critical infrastructure cyber secure,” Dutrieuille says. “As regulators, it is incumbent on us to engage our utilities and other key stakeholders on cybersecurity matters for this purpose. We must understand the evolving threats and vulnerabilities as well as the risk mitigation options that are available.”
Brown also chairs NARUC’s Committee on Critical Infrastructure, which provides a host of cybersecurity resources designed primarily for state PUCs. Along with publications, the committee hosts webinars and maintains an online repository of information.
A Guide for Public Utility Commissions: Recruiting and Retaining a Cybersecurity Workforce is available at bit.ly/CyberWorkforce.
NARUC is a non-profit organization founded in 1889 whose members include the governmental agencies that are engaged in the regulation of utilities and carriers in the fifty States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. NARUC's member agencies regulate telecommunications, energy, and water utilities. NARUC represents the interests of State public utility commissions before the three branches of the Federal government.