California is protecting its critical infrastructure like power grids and public utility websites with the help of a cyber information sharing program. So, far the program which is also known as California Energy System(CES) program for the 21st century has been productive and collaborative. Furthermore, the research and development in this arena have changed the way utilities are protecting their critical assets.
The initiative was launched in 2012 with an aim to provide accurate and fast communication of cyber threats. The program has now matured into an automated response having capabilities to protect critical infrastructure damage prior to occurrence.
The CES program has been developed by technical experts from Pacific Gas and Electric, San Diego Gas and Electric and Southern Californian Edison. Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory is also offering critical inputs to R&D team. Though the focus is mainly on to protect power utilities, the development has reached a stage where it can be used to protect all IT infrastructure of public utilities.
As public and private firms need a common language to communicate and share cyber activity on an effective note, CES has formulated standards for cyber threat communication and sharing to provide such a foundation.
While sharing cyber security incidents the need for having consistent language is equally as important as to have an automated response capability. This is essential to respond to threats, considering the fact that the defender has a very short period to respond to threats.
As cyber attacks on power grids are increasing at an alarming rate, California Energy Systems in association with Department of Homeland Security has some standards to follow in order to alleviate communication barriers at the time of cyber attacks.
The program is in refinement stage and can be duplicated in other states to boost information sharing and protection capabilities of critical infrastructure like power grids and nuclear fuel plants.