The Automation Federation is assisting the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), an agency of the US Department of Commerce, organize a fifth NIST workshop on the federal government’s national cybersecurity framework initiative. This fifth workshop, to be held 14-15 November 2013 at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, NC, USA, provides another opportunity for leading cybersecurity experts across America and the world—as well as other key stakeholders in industry, academia, and government—to weigh in on the merits of a national Cybersecurity Framework called for by President Barack Obama.
“The Automation Federation accepted the invitation of NIST to assist in the scheduling and organization of this fifth workshop,” reports Michael Marlowe, Automation Federation Managing Director and Director of Government Relations. “NC State University, located just a few miles from the RDU International Airport and the Automation Federation headquarters, is an excellent location for this meeting.”
According to NIST, the key target audience for the workshop includes “critical infrastructure owners and operators and cybersecurity staff, specifically those who have operational, managerial and policy experience and responsibilities for cybersecurity, technology and/or standards development for critical infrastructure companies.”
At NIST’s request, the Automation Federation and its affiliated organization, the International Society of Automation (ISA), have actively participated in all four previous workshops, serving as advisors to the federal government in the development of the framework. In fact, well before the President in February of this year called for a federal proposal on cybersecurity, Automation Federation and ISA leaders have been consulting with White House National Security Staff, US federal agency officials, and members of Congress on the critical need to establish national cybersecurity standards, guidelines and compliance testing.
Since standards are widely viewed as essential to any effective cybersecurity initiative, the Automation Federation and ISA are strongly recommending the inclusion of the ANSI/ISA99, Industrial Automation and Control Systems Security standards—widely recognized for their comprehensive approach to industrial cybersecurity.
The ANSI/ISA99, Industrial Automation and Control Systems Security standards—developed by a cross-section of international cybersecurity subject-matter experts from industry, government and academia—apply to all key industry sectors and critical infrastructure, and, as a result, provide the flexibility to address and mitigate current and future vulnerabilities in industrial automation and control systems (IACS).
Putting widespread cybersecurity standards in place is vital since many of America’s industrial production settings and infrastructure environments are woefully under-prepared to address cyberwarfare. If industrial control systems and critical infrastructure—such as a power plant, water treatment facility, or transportation grid—are attacked, the result could be significant equipment impairment, production loss, environmental damage, and public endangerment.