Sep 29 2023

Why Energy and Utility Companies Should Consider MDR Services

Any attack in the energy and utility sector could have a devastating impact, but a managed detection and response partner can help organizations stay secure.

“By 2025, 60 percent of organizations will be actively using remote threat disruption and containment capabilities delivered directly by MDR providers,” Gartner projects. Today, however, many organizations are still trying to figure out how managed detection and response fits into their existing IT infrastructure.

One major benefit of MDR is that it’s proactive. It combines human expertise and sophisticated technologies to deliver 24/7 monitoring: looking for threats, conducting investigations and responding to suspicious activity, with a goal of preventing a breach from occurring in the first place. The best MDR providers use an extended detection-and-response solution that provides visibility into all the areas where users and data may exist — a necessary capability given the nature of work today. 

For organizations in the energy and utility sector, MDR is a great option to consider — particularly at a time when cyberattackers are targeting critical infrastructure to take control of systems and servers at scale. Here’s what IT leaders need to know:

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Why Energy and Utilities Are an Attractive Target

One of the reasons why E&U companies are susceptible to attack is because all the entry points are tied to regional grids or supervisory control and data acquisition networks. Once a bad actor penetrates this entry point, it may have access to partner, vendor, customer and government regulator data.

SCADA networks, with their legacy designs, bring unique security challenges because they are “frequently operating with outdated or insufficient security features” explain CDW experts Joel Vargas and Pedro Serrano.

Then, consider the motive of the malicious actors. Behind every E&U breach, there could be a complex web of organized crime, enemy nation-states, insiders and partners, hacktivists, competitors and skilled individual hackers. Threat actors may be looking to steal data or “score a financial windfall,” explain Vargas and Serrano. But whatever the motive, the consequences can be catastrophic — especially when you understand the extent to which E&U grids power entire cities. They are quite literally integral to the functioning of society.


The percentage of organizations that will be actively using MDR services by 2025

Source: Gartner, Market Guide for Managed Detection and Response Services, February 2023

Why an MDR Service Is Well Suited to Energy and Utilities

Many companies combating these threats also report a shortage of IT professionals who are trained in handling cyberattacks. This imbalance of skilled labor is precisely why a managed detection and response service can help. By systematically reviewing the process and identifying areas to automate, MDR can help make the overall system less vulnerable to a breach. MDR services can also run effective data governance programs, threat assessments, and simulate real-world threats followed by testing and compliance checks.

DIG DEEPER: Discover how managed detection and response can help your security posture.

This is a major advantage, especially considering that only 13 percent of operational technology security professionals have centralized visibility into organizational OT activities, according to Fortinet’s 2022 State of Operational Technology and Cybersecurity Report.

Bolster Your Cyberdefense with an MDR Service Now

Overall, MDR can serve as a dedicated resource to proactively and defensively work against these attacks, freeing up IT staff members to handle mission-critical projects.

MDR partners such as Fortinet, Dell and Cisco can also help companies bolster their cyberdefenses. By combining detection and response, MDR gives energy and utility companies scalable, continuous insights into security, allowing for rapid response and cost-effective solutions geared to recovery.

Laurence Dutton / Getty Images

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