Critical Infrastructure Protection Orientation in 4 Easy Steps

Critical Infrastructure Protection Orientation in 4 Easy Steps

Catalina Joseph, Gov CIO Outlook | Friday, March 12, 2021

Government and private industry have a shared responsibility for critical infrastructure and key resources protection. The four steps to understand and know who to call in case of emergency for protection of CIKR is elaborated.

FREMONT, CA: The need for protection of critical infrastructure and key resources (CIKR) was first identified in 1998 by then-President Bill Clinton. The president laid out public-private partnerships to decrease the vulnerabilities and interruptions of critical natural resources.

Following Clinton’s initial directive, President George W. Bush issued a presidential directive in 2003. The report recounted the composition of critical national assets and those which federal agencies are being held responsible. A decade later, the Obama administration issued a presidential policy directive, or PPD-21, that advanced the national endeavor to reinforce and maintain secure critical infrastructure. 

Being both publicly and privately held 85 percent of the nation’s critical infrastructure is owned and operated by the private sector. As a result of which many agencies, organizations, and enterprises have key roles defining the terms of critical infrastructure protection.

CIKR owners and operators need to on the lookout for respective responsibilities in terms of protection from physical and cyberattacks. The following four key recommendations guide resource owners to enhance the security of critical assets.

1. Identify Owned and Operated CIKR:

As an initiation task, the owners need to understand first if the organization’s assets and activities are one of the U.S. CIKR inventory and Homeland Security. By knowing which sector the organization’s assets are affiliated with, the appropriate DHS Sector-Specific Plans prepared per the National Infrastructure Protection Plan (NIPP) should be located and studied.

2. Understand CIKR Asset Interdependencies:

After the process of identification, the interdependencies of the CIKR holdings need to be given attention. In case the company is in the critical manufacturing, and closely related to energy, transportation, water and wastewater, and information technology sectors.    

3. Take Advantage of Sector-Specific Resources:

Before completion of CIKR inventories and interdependencies, take advantage of a sector expert. Sector-specific plans recognize federal government sector leaders, as well as civilian members of the sector council.

4. Know who Supports you During a Crisis:

The presidential directives and policies were premeditated to offer guidance to U.S. government agencies and departments to protect CIKR. In case of emergencies, it is essential to be aware of the response and recovery. Additionally, knowing ISAC points of contact and sector coordinating council members, along with an up-to-date list of contacts which assist in emergencies caused due to weather, natural disasters, cyber or physical attacks, and even human error and equipment failure is always a plus point.

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