Science Gazette

The energy industry faces a cyber security risk due to a skills deficit

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According to the monthly service Tagesspiegel Background Cybersecurity, the lack of qualified IT workers is posing a threat to the digital security of businesses operating in Germany’s energy sector. According to Maik Neubauer, partner of the consultancy firm Decomplexity, “Electricity grid operators are now poorly equipped in terms of personnel and structure for a severe cyber or sabotage attack.” According to a report in Tagesspiegel, an international organization for cyber security called the ISC believes that Germany is suffering from a shortage of nearly 100,000 cyber workers across all businesses.

In the meanwhile, this shortfall is expected to get worse, as a new EU rule aims to increase the bar for adequate cybersecurity measures, and businesses in a variety of industries will have to satisfy new requirements in the future. According to Neubauer, “The transmission system operators and the larger distribution system operators each have an additional requirement for cyber teams of ten to fifteen personnel due to the tougher restrictions.” According to a paper that was published not too long ago by the research institute Fraunhofer IEE, a successful transition to renewable energy sources can only be accomplished if there is a full digitalization of the whole energy industry.

On the other hand, increased levels of digitalization bring with them an increased demand for strengthened online safety measures. Because the power supply may be turned on and off in response to changes in demand, energy systems that are fueled by fossil fuels do not need a significant amount of digitalization. A power system that is based on renewable sources, such as wind and solar, requires a more sophisticated system to match supply and demand because the output of wind and solar electricity is dependent on the weather.

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