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Cyber security in gas and water supply

Cyber security for the Gas and Water Industry

Most of the work processes performed in the gas and water industry have long since been digitised. The ongoing digitalisation of the industry and ever-larger amounts of data render cooperation in and the standardisation of IT security procedures indispensable.

Cyber security in gas and water supply; © iStock.com/matejmo

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IT systems in the gas and water sector

The growing amount of data and ever more complex tasks lead to more stringent requirements being made on IT security in the gas and water industry. Germany’s gas and water utilities have already installed security systems to protect their IT processes and applications, albeit at different scopes. The legislator opted to act and has passed a series of legal regulations aimed at the digital protection of sensitive parts of the infrastructure and important economic sectors. These regulations include, among others, the Verordnung zur Bestimmung Kritischer Infrastrukturen (BSI-Kritisverordnung, BSI-KritisV; Ordinance on the Identification of Critical Infrastructures) in accordance with the BSI-Gesetz (Act on the Federal Office for Information Security), which entered into force on 3rd May 2016 and gives the companies concerned a maximum of two years to implement measures designed to protect their IT infrastructure. The regulations also include the IT-Sicherheitsgesetz (Act to Strengthen the Security of Federal Information Technology), the INSPIRE Directive and the IT security catalogue issued by the Federal Network Agency, all of which focus on harmonised criteria and standards for the IT systems of important German industries. The DVGW helps gas and water firms to prepare for a digitised future and to efficiently protect their information technology systems and, through its participation in the public-private UP KRITIS cooperation as well as in diverse cross-sector initiatives, actively strives to harmonise IT security standards.
The growing amount of data and ever more complex tasks lead to more stringent requirements being made on IT security in the gas and water industry. Germany’s gas and water utilities have already installed security systems to protect their IT processes and applications, albeit at different scopes. The legislator opted to act and has passed a series of legal regulations aimed at the digital protection of sensitive parts of the infrastructure and important economic sectors. These regulations include, among others, the Verordnung zur Bestimmung Kritischer Infrastrukturen (BSI-Kritisverordnung, BSI-KritisV; Ordinance on the Identification of Critical Infrastructures) in accordance with the BSI-Gesetz (Act on the Federal Office for Information Security), which entered into force on 3rd May 2016 and gives the companies concerned a maximum of two years to implement measures designed to protect their IT infrastructure. The regulations also include the IT-Sicherheitsgesetz (Act to Strengthen the Security of Federal Information Technology), the INSPIRE Directive and the IT security catalogue issued by the Federal Network Agency, all of which focus on harmonised criteria and standards for the IT systems of important German industries. The DVGW helps gas and water firms to prepare for a digitised future and to efficiently protect their information technology systems and, through its participation in the public-private UP KRITIS cooperation as well as in diverse cross-sector initiatives, actively strives to harmonise IT security standards.
IT Security in the Water and Wastewater Industry
DVGW Guideline W 1060 with web application "IT Security Guide" for the protection of IT systems in the water and wastewater sector
DVGW Guideline W 1060 with web application "IT Security Guide" for the protection of IT systems in the water and wastewater sector © Istock.com/AlexBrylov

Against the backdrop of increasing cyber attacks, IT security assumes top priority for the operators of critical infrastructures. Everybody needs clean drinking water as well as efficient wastewater disposal and treatment services. In Germany, operators of critical infrastructures are obliged to observe strict statutory requirements on IT security.

The DVGW and DWA therefore have developed the industry-specific IT Security Standard for the Water/Wastewater Industry, which offers water utilities and wastewater companies a tool to protect their IT systems against cyber crime.

To the DVGW Guideline W 1060 (in German only)

To the Web Application "IT Security Guide" (in German only)