SnoPUD and PNNL: Cyber Summit Focuses on Protecting Critical Systems

Regional Utilities, Federal & State Officials Collaborate on Cybersecurity

Snohomish County Public Utility District (PUD) this week joined with Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) to cosponsor a Cyber Summit aimed at sharing information about protecting critical systems. Those attending included: U.S. Representative Suzan DelBene, representatives from several congressional offices, the FBI, the Assistant U.S. Attorney’s Office, the Bonneville Power Administration, the University of Washington, the Washington State National Guard, Seattle City Light, Tacoma Power, Puget Sound Energy and Avista Corporation. The well-attended summit was held at PNNL’s Seattle office.

“This is a crucial and growing topic that we need to proactively address,” said PUD General Manager Steve Klein.  “At the summit, we assembled key players to identify partnerships and to brief lawmakers about how we’re taking all necessary measures to protect the power grid and other essential systems.”

The event addressed the unique cyber assets in Washington state and the approaches that companies and organizations are taking to confront challenges. It provided a valuable educational forum for legislators and government officials to gather information about the activities of various Washington public and private entities.

The Cyber Summit is an important start to a dialogue across multiple sectors, which will be expanded in the future to better protect cyber assets in Washington state.  The PUD and PNNL see it as an opportunity to develop a model of information sharing and collaboration that could be adopted to benefit other organizations throughout the United States.

“The Internet has changed the way we live, work and communicate. Advances in technology have made us more interconnected than at any time in human history,” said U.S. Representative Suzan DelBene. “As a result, cyber security is one of the most serious economic and national security challenges we are now facing. Today’s summit was an important step forward as we craft smart, effective policy to tackle this critical issue.”

The briefing helps to raise the visibility of cyber security issues and sets the stage for planning and policy-making, ensuring the region remains vigilant against potential attacks in the future.


Source:  SnoPUD press release, March 27, 2013.