Ask the Expert: What does ‘Operational Resilience’ mean in the Energy Industry?

Cyber Risk

Michael DeLoach, Solution Consultant at Iceberg Networks and Mitch Blackburn, Global Head of Energy & Utilities Industry Solutions at ServiceNow sat down with us to answer more questions around what operational resilience means in the energy industry. The following is an edited transcript of the conversation.

Michael DeLoach: It’s the ability for organizations to continue to serve their customers and deliver reliable energy resources, for example, electricity and natural gas; and protect its workforce in the face of operational events by anticipating, recovering from, and adapting to those events. This means being able to classify those events based on severity and having plans in place, preferably plans that have been tested to recover from those events. This is where ServiceNow can help these organizations by having a place where they can manage these plans and ensure their effectiveness.

Mitch Blackburn: There are just a couple of things I would add to that, and it’s really about being more proactive, so how can we get in front of those issues and how can we continue to improve? These things are happening more frequently and our customers’ patience is getting lower when we have outages – a power outage, a network outage or whatever outage it is. Our ability to predict what might happen and predict how those things might happen, including what ecosystem partners we need to engage in that, is becoming more important.

So again, part one, being more proactive. Then the next part is being sure that we’re leveraging continuous improvement to be better as we respond. As mentioned, having those plans and practicing those plans is important, and one of the key things is as you’re executing those plans, as you’re running those tests, reflecting on those and making those continuous improvements so that recovery gets shorter and hopefully we find ways to avoid them altogether. 

Related Discussion: A Risk-Based Approach to Bridging the Energy Sector Security Gap (30 minutes)

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