54 percent of companies expect a cyber attack on critical infrastructure in the next 12 months, according to a survey of 1,726 utility professionals responsible for cyber security.
As utilities increasingly evolve their business models by connecting IT systems to their operational technology for power generation, transmission, and distribution assets, critical infrastructure in the utility industry is becoming even more vulnerable to cyber attacks. It may have seemed simpler to protect your information when everything was done manually and on paper. But security is now a moving target as technology integrates into operations.
According to the study, most utilities say that cyber threats present a greater risk to their physical energy delivery infrastructure than their IT systems. This poses the serious industry challenge of ensuring the availability and reliability of electricity delivery to customers.
These days, your organization likely works with many third-party software vendors to manage your operations. Like ARCOS.
ARCOS takes cybersecurity very seriously. We have state-of-the-art protocols in place. We protect all your information that exists within our work order management system. Our mobile workforce management software is configurable to adhere to the individual security policies of each company we work with.
Why Not Stick with What’s Worked?
Some companies may seek to hold onto past manual processes because it’s risky and time-consuming to implement new technology. If an implementation fails, you can’t get back the time and resources spent trying to make it work.
But manual processes are cumbersome and inefficient. Employees have to jump through hoops to access the information they need. When communication isn’t free-flowing, steps are skipped or information doesn’t get to who needs it. This means it’s harder to get work done. That affects the bottom line of the company, leading to less profit and more difficulty hitting efficiency goals.
Another concern is that hard copies are vulnerable to damage and destruction. Coffee can be spilled on a report. An intern could shred the wrong document. A copy may be left on a desk and cleared away by cleaning staff. Even with an on-premise computer system, it’s usually connected to the internet. So, it’s still vulnerable to outside attack. If your system isn’t internet connected, a fire could wipe out everything stored on the hard drive that isn’t backed up off site. All these incidents come at huge cost to the company, and some information may not be recoverable if lost.
These methods haven’t always worked in the past and aren’t the best solution for the future. We can do better. ARCOS can help.
How ARCOS Keeps Your Data Secure
ARCOS is cloud-based SaaS, which has many benefits. We continuously upgrade our technology. We are agile as we listen to our customers and act on their feedback. Most important, with cloud-based systems, the information you need is accessible anywhere, anytime. And we encrypt that data so that only those who should see it can see it.
Unlike papers in filing cabinets, with ARCOS, you designate exactly who can access each part of the system. It’s a more precise way to control your data. Most security breaches are due to human error, not a coordinated attack by a malicious force. ARCOS can help reduce these errors.
We work with more than a hundred companies and their company-specific security procedures. This gives us valuable insight into best practices. Our collective experience allows us to recommend security procedures built on that combined knowledge.
ARCOS’s current procedures include running daily scans of our network and all its connections. We have thousands of monitoring points keeping an eye on operations in real-time. We look for openings and vulnerabilities on an ongoing basis. If the system finds something that looks amiss, it locks down until our IT staff can investigate. We also undergo a third-party SOC 2 audit every six months to make sure we’re holding ourselves to high standards. We take the security, availability, and confidentiality of our platform and clients’ data extremely seriously.
Extending Security into the Field
We’ve mentioned that ARCOS allows you to set permissions regarding who can see what information. This extends to ARCOS’s Mobile Workbench and your crews in the field. Because our solutions are cloud-based, the data you load can be accessed anywhere. This makes it very convenient for field crews to access technical specifications, schedules, updates, and other information. They can see it right on their mobile device. Locking down what each user can access when they login ensures they can get everything they need to do their jobs, but not anything else.
The benefits of that are obvious. If a mobile device is stolen or lost, that leaves its data vulnerable. But with ARCOS, your internal ARCOS administrator can shut down that user’s access immediately. And even before access is revoked, only limited data is available.
These guardrails extend to third-party vendors, like contractors. ARCOS’s Resource Assist allows you to seamlessly integrate external crews into your current workflows. But it doesn’t grant them an all-access pass to your systems. You can choose the specifics to share with them regarding your resource request. This reduces your vulnerability and makes the system more secure.
You can also use ARCOS to monitor how well crew members are following your established security procedures. Mobile Workbench allows you to share documents, so you can send instructions directly to the employee to follow. They can communicate back through the Mobile Workbench app what has been done. This allows the back office to check their work and ensure no corners are cut.
We Can Help
ARCOS is serious about cybersecurity. We have a robust, accessible cloud-based system that is protected and precise. You can configure it to give access to data only for those that need it and keep everyone else locked out. We are constantly monitoring our systems and updating them to ensure your solution is working correctly and securely. We extend that functionality into the field.
If you’re ready to learn more about how our solutions can be used to improve your own processes, contact us today.