Discover how organizations can strengthen their infrastructure security and resilience through CISA's free toolkit and 'Shields Ready' campaign during Critical Infrastructure Security and Resilience (CISR) month.
November is Critical Infrastructure Security and Resilience (CISR) month! President Biden’s proclamation this year mentioned specific threats to this cause, like the increase in natural disasters due to climate change, pandemics, and cyberattacks: “... criminals and violent extremists, continue to target our power grids, pipelines, health care systems, and water systems — threatening the infrastructure that underpins our economy, public health and safety, and national security.”
Since its inception in 2013, the Cybersecurity Infrastructure and Security Agency, CISA has spent the period increasing awareness about the importance of critical infrastructure and the need for improved security and resilience for critical infrastructure. CISA believes that resiliency can be incorporated into national infrastructure through extensive preparedness planning that includes practicing in the case of an actual event.
This year, CISA has released a free toolkit to help you “Resolve to be Resilient”, as well as a ‘Shields Ready’ campaign that helps stakeholders in critical infrastructure sectors.
The toolkit has unique recommended actions for many different groups, including people in the private sector, Sector Risk Management Agencies, State, Local, Tribal, and Territorial Government Officials, and even members of Congress. Most importantly, the toolkit has an extensive list of free and easily accessible resources that can be relevant to many different businesses.
CISA’s ‘Shields Ready’ campaign was launched on November 7th, 2023. The program compliments the ‘Shields Up’ campaign CISA established in 2022 following the Russia-Ukraine War as a proactive measure to possible disruptive attacks on US critical infrastructure. For critical infrastructure organizations, CISA describes resilience as the ability of organizations to “quickly adjust their posture for heightened risk conditions, in turn helping to prevent incidents, to reduce impact, and get things back to normal—or better—as quickly as possible”
The Shields Ready campaign lists four steps to help organizations and business achieve this goal:
Identify Critical Assets and Map Dependencies: Identify what's most important for your everyday business operations, and understand how these key elements rely on technology, suppliers, and delivery of goods.
Assess Risks: Think about all possible problems that could interfere with these important elements, and what specific effects these problems could have on your business operations' continuity.
Plan and Exercise: Create immediate response and recovery plans to lessen the effect of these problems on critical business operations. Make sure to frequently practice these plans under realistic situations to guarantee rapid recovery of operations with the least amount of downtime.
Adapt and Improve: Regularly check and update your response and recovery plans based on the outcomes of the practiced scenarios, real life incidents, and a continuous evaluation of potential threats.
Strengthening infrastructure security and resilience is essential for our national security, public safety, and economic stability. With the free "Resolve to be Resilient" toolkit and the 'Shields Ready' campaign, organizations and businesses can better prepare for crisis situations and safeguard their operations. It's a collective responsibility for individuals, businesses, and governments to utilize these resources, fostering a more secure and resilient infrastructure that ensures the continuity of our essential operations amid potential threats. Happy Critical Infrastructure Security and Resilience Month!