Authored by Sundar Balasubramanian, Managing Director, India & SAARC, Check Point Software Technologies
This Earth Day 2023, people from around the world will come together to “Invest in Our Planet” to accelerate the transition to an equitable and prosperous green economy for all. From planting trees to cleaning up beaches to lobbying elected officials, there are many ways to contribute to a greener and cleaner Earth. In fact, more than 70 countries have set a net-zero target, which means cutting greenhouse gas emissions to as close to zero as possible. In 2021, investments in renewable energy solutions reached $755 billion, a 27% increase from 2020.
Here in India, according to the 2022 Climate Change Performance Index, India was reported to be ranked amongst the top five performing countries. India is also seeing new focus in this area with the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) with India committed to reducing the emissions intensity of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by 45% by 2030 from the 2005 level and achieving about 50% cumulative electric power installed capacity from non-fossil fuel-based energy resources by 2030.
Large and small companies around the world are doing their part to sustain the earth with clean and green efforts. Understanding the importance and focus of this day, Check Point Software has a continuous effort to join the fight with automated and energy-efficient lighting and cooling systems including 30% more energy-efficient chillers to control consumption, glass walls that neutralize the heat and improve the energy-use efficiency at our headquarters, and leveraging 4,000 square meters of ‘green walls’, with an upgraded UPS systems to carry a 99% efficiency rate. In our underground parking lots, we have bicycle, scooter and electronic vehicles charging stations, using a smart air circulation system to ensure efficiency and water consumption monitoring and leveraging HVAC gray water to irrigate for our green walls and roof gardens to reduce wastage.
Despite all this these efforts, one important piece of securing our sustainable future is often overlooked: cybersecurity. As the world transitions from fossil fuels to green energy, it is critical that renewable energy-powered grids are designed with prevention-first cybersecurity technologies from the outset to safeguard our energy businesses and ensure their viability way into the future.
Check Point Software Technologies recently joined cyber, business and political leaders at the World Economic Forum to publish a Guidebook for a Cyber-Resilient Low-Emissions Energy Transition. The Guidebook details six principles to help energy and government leaders build cyber resiliency into their energy transition journey:
1. Prepare the new energy system structure to meet emerging threats: Recent analysis from Check Point Research found that cyberattacks on global utilities are up 17% this year versus 2022. As isolated, legacy energy infrastructure transitions to digitally networked systems supported by innovative emerging technologies, it is essential they receive a cybersecurity upgrade. Many of the risks can be mitigated by building systems with prevention-first based cybersecurity solutions to prevent attacks from disrupting operations.
2. Invest capital for long-term benefits: Achieving a sustainable world requires upfront investments in clean energy assets and new technologies which can be reaped back over the course of years as they unlock long-term financial and societal benefits. In that same vein, building “secure by design” clean energy systems comes with upfront capital costs, but will reduce the overall risk to facilities, critical infrastructure and supply chains from the devastating effects of a breach or cyberattack. Embedding in strong cybersecurity from the start may also lower insurance premiums.
3. Navigate the regulatory landscape: Cybersecurity is a global risk that crosses borders and industries. Government leaders from the European Union to Japan to the USA and beyond are taking notice and taking action. Given the importance of regulatory compliance, it is vital to understand the global and local regulatory and policy environment and how these entities view cybersecurity. International commitments and domestic policies can help guide future cybersecurity needs within the energy industry.
4. Establish cyber-resilient governance for the energy transition: The renewable energy transition is changing the industry’s common business models of centralized energy production and distribution. The new systems will run on distributed generation and producer-consumers who both take and send energy to the grid. The new systems require governance models built on trust – especially when it comes to incident reporting and information. Organizations should design a governance structure that addresses cybersecurity and builds cyber resilience.
5. Build the foundation for an innovative business environment: Energy companies must realize that cybersecurity is a key business enabler to ensure and accelerate business performance, rather than a cost to be minimized. In fact, companies should find ways to demonstrate the strength of their cybersecurity and cyber resilience as a unique selling point to investors, partners and customers. This will allow leaders to create and sustain an innovative business environment that is trusted for business sustainability.
6. Develop strong human capital: With an estimated 3.4 million unfilled cybersecurity positions worldwide according to (ISC)², closing the cybersecurity skills gap is essential to securing our sustainable future. This can be accomplished by first retaining the current cyber workforce and by lowering their stress and preventing burn out. Next, it is imperative that we both reskill and train workers for cybersecurity roles via programs like Check Point MIND and that we educate today’s youth and prepare them for cyber careers via programs like SecureAcademy.
Taken together, these six principles complement the World Economic Forum’s Energy Transition Index’s energy transition readiness dimensions. According to the Guidebook, “the extent to which organizations integrate cybersecurity into their energy transition readiness dimensions and perform on the six principles will determine whether they will advance or impede progress on a low-emissions future.”
At Check Point, we hope you will join us in securing our sustainable future. We are ready to help you navigate the six principles and build in cyber resiliency from the start.