The risks facing energy companies and how to prevent them

Energy companies

In this increasingly technological age, we face a modern-day risk: cybercrime. For all the benefits technology affords us, it also leaves us open to one of the greatest risks of today. Recent history is littered with stories of compromised security systems or mass leaks of information.

There isn’t an industry out there that isn’t susceptible to cybercrime in some way. This includes energy companies. While some of what we will talk about is very unlikely, it is still a possibility. It’s important we learn about what we can do before it’s too late.

Black sky hazards

The UK is vulnerable to the risk of a ‘black sky hazard’. This means hazards which could cause power outages and widespread chaos. These come from a variety of sources, including:

  • Extreme weather events which will become more frequent and intense as a result of climate change.
  • Extreme solar storms which can disrupt satellites and electrical power grids.
  • Cyberattacks which are more sophisticated than ever and could lead to military-level attacks on the UK.
  • Coordinated physical attacks which are a possibility in the UK where the terror threat has only recently been downgraded from severe to substantial. 

As we said, each one is extremely unlikely, but a threat is still a threat even if there’s only a .01% chance. If any of these were to happen, what would become of the UK?

What would happen if there was a black sky event in the UK?

The public often takes the supply of energy for granted, not realising how much of their lives rely on a functional power grid and organised energy companies. If there was a black sky event in the UK it would cause widespread panic. There would be no power for communication between the government and the public and a lot of resulting confusion. 

Hygiene in cities would plummet quickly, leaving a lack of drinking water and the spread of disease. People wouldn’t be able to access money, hospitals would shut down, and cities would become uninhabitable. Even if the grid was back up and running within a few days, it could take months to decontaminate the water supply. 

The outlook of a black sky event doesn’t look good. But fortunately, energy companies and the government have all the tools they need to minimise the risk and ensure a quick recovery of any black sky event. And surprisingly, the preventative measures are relatively simple. 

Focusing on compliance

Energy companies can prevent black sky events by focusing on their internal compliance using the right technology. The situations are unlikely, but not impossible, so preparation is essential. Your technology should:

  • Improve your auditing process – Audits are essential to ensuring all your processes and infrastructure are working as they should. Audits will help you understand if you’re GDPR compliant, ensuring your data doesn’t get into the wrong hands. It will check if your staff are carrying out the right safety processes on-site and in the office. And it will also ensure you check your cybersecurity measures regularly to highlight and fix areas of vulnerability.
  • Improve your training processes – A large part of business vulnerability to cyberattacks and physical attacks are internal. Staff who don’t understand best practice for sensitive data or how to follow essential protocol put energy companies at risk. You should be able to monitor which staff members need new or refresher training automatically and implement this in just a few clicks across all sites.

A black sky event in the UK isn’t likely, but it isn’t impossible. With threats from climate change and cyberattacks increasing, it could become a real worry in the future. The best way energy companies can fight this is through prevention using the right technological systems. 

Inform People allows energy companies to create, edit, and distribute bespoke or scheduled audits in just a few clicks. The paperless system automatically assigns qualified staff to the audits so they’re completed regularly and on time to find and address any areas of vulnerability. To see what else Inform People can do, from boosting internal communication to making staff training simple and easy, visit our website and get in touch.

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