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Industrial Networks: Are Critical Infrastructures Resilient?

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Electricity, gas, water, … critical infrastructures are the subject of diverse threats: from climate change to cyberattacks and human error. Arnaud Ulian, project manager of EDF Pulse Croissance, gives us a broader explanation of the state of play.

It has been a while since Europe was last confronted with a Blackout, a proof that the contemporary industrial systems are capable of resisting most threats. We call this resilience. In the case of industrial infrastructure, the notion of resilience defines the capacity of anticipating, absorbing and regaining the initial conditions after large scale events. Besides the main challenge posed by climate change, with its extreme meteorological consequences, the infrastructures are also confronted with new issues, such as the injection of renewable energies, «among other factors that have physical impacts on the installations», observes Arnaud Ulian. With the digitalization of the sector and the multiplication of the actors on the market, ensuring the resilience of these infrastructures amid cyberthreats implies international coordination and discipline.

Resilience is everybody’s business

In order to ensure the security of these infrastructures, every actor of the value chain has to adopt a set of good practices. «Today, the cyber risk must be considered in the same way as any other business risk. For this reason, we cannot treat it separately after dealing with the others», argues Arnaud Ulian. The sensibilization of the teams on the field, the choice of specific solutions based on the systems (Security by design), or even the definition and application of international standards: the requirement level does not stop increasing. Coordination is a priority to ensure the infrastructural resilience, both at the national level, through the ANSSI i.e. the French National Cybersecurity Agency, and at the European level, through the creation of the ENTSO-E (European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity) or the adoption of the NIS Directive (Network and Information Security).

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