The focus in the water industry has been on the benefits to efficiency and decision-making provided by digital analytics using IoT devices, cloud storage, and intelligent software. Last week, news broke of the cyberattack on a SCADA system in Oldsmar, FL. Life events have a way of reminding us to properly balance risk and rewards. We believe in and invest in new technology for our clients – while also strongly advising a culture that incorporates and updates best practices in cybersecurity. As a former utility executive, our Water/Wastewater Practice Leader, Tom Frederick, learned the value IT professionals provide to water utilities, and the requirements an organization needs to stay current – supported software, installed patches, vigilant employee training and awareness, access control, and beyond.
The cyberattack is also a reminder to designers of process control systems to incorporate effective and feedback monitoring that serve as a check to avoid negative consequences from control functions, whether from hackers, operator error, or the fault of an instrument. Such monitoring must be highly reliable, gaining operator trust by catching real problems without nuisance or false alarms. Achieving this goal is at the heart of what Pennoni engineers do for our water and wastewater clients.
It's important for water utility managers to prioritize their own risks, which is why community water systems serving more than 3,300 people must perform a risk and resilience assessment, which addresses both malevolent acts and natural hazards, the physical security of several listed categories of critical assets, and cybersecurity and monitoring practices and policies.
Tom serves as Associate Vice President, Director of Water/Wastewater Practice for Pennoni and is responsible for the overall coordination of the company’s engineering services to clients within the drinking water and wastewater industry, including reuse water and water resources.
For more information, please contact Tom at firstname.lastname@example.org.