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Vantage Point: Critical Infrastructure Security & Resilience Month

Before we leap into December and holiday scams and warnings, let's review Critical Infrastructure Security and Resilience month (CISRM)! November was CISRM, but what is critical infrastructure? How many of us could name all 16 of the critical infrastructure sectors?

Many of us would consider breathable air, potable water, food, shelter, and clothing to be critical needs for a person to survive. In order to prevent death from disease or heat and cold, healthcare and energy are needed. Communities need the means to trade goods and services, and conduct commerce, transportation, and communications. In order to have these, we must have a monetary system. In order to thrive rather than just survive, we need to manage waste and purify water and air.


All of these necessary resources and services must be discovered, invented, produced, grown, manufactured, processed, transported, sold, and managed. The 16 Sectors defined by the Cyber & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) are: Chemical; Commercial Facilities; Communications; Critical Manufacturing; Dams; Defense; Emergency Services; Energy; Financial Services; Food and Agriculture; Government Facilities; Healthcare and Public Health; Information Technology; Nuclear Reactors Materials, and Waste; Transportation Systems; and Water and Wastewater Systems.


As we read through the list of defined sectors, we recognize that we rely on most of them (even if we don’t think about them every day or ever see these sectors “in action”). The theme of CISRM for 2021 was ”Build it In.” Events focused on several sub-themes. First, the interconnected and interdependent nature of critical infrastructure and how shared risk means shared responsibility. Second, planning for soft target security and how to build in security for mass gatherings – starting with your planning. This one will be very important with holiday celebrations and the easement of COVID restrictions on gatherings. Third, building resilience into critical infrastructure. Fourth, securing our elections and building resilience into our democratic processes.


While our government partners produced content and provided webinars during the month of November, you don’t have to wait until November each year to take advantage of training, tools, services and community interaction related to securing critical infrastructure.


The Infrastructure Security Month Toolkit lists a plethora of resources and tools for training, assessing, and securing critical infrastructure.


Critical Infrastructure programs pages found at https://www.cisa.gov/critical-infrastructure-sectors describe each sector and provide additional links for programs related to each sector.


InfragardNCR chapter has a platform where each member can sign up to participate in a sector specific email list: https://ncr.epicplatform.com/ (also, please note that we are in need of volunteers to serve as sector chiefs – this can be a team effort – grab a colleague and be co-chiefs).


More information about our sector chief program can be found at: https://www.infragardncr.org/about-the-sector-chiefs. Building community can be one of the single most important means to multiply the efforts of small teams, discuss best practices and the state of technology.


Check out the Pragmatic Cybersecurity Webinar Series at: https://www.cisa.gov/pragmatic-cyber-security-webinar or the Daily Scoop podcast at: https://www.fedscoop.com/the-daily-scoop-podcast/.

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