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Power Supply Dependencies in the Electronic Communications Sector: a new ENISA report

ENISA, the EU’s cyber security agency, has issued a new report studying network outages caused by power cuts. It provides recommendations to the electronic communications sector on how to withstand and act efficiently after power cuts, a key point being to establish better exchange of situational awareness and improved cooperation mechanisms within the sector and with the energy sector.

The Agency makes eight recommendations to National Regulatory Authorities (NRA) and providers within the electronic communications sector to reduce the risk of network and service outages caused by power supply failures.

NRAs should:

  • Analyse the frequency and impact of network outages caused by power cuts.
  • Liaise with providers to collect good practices to increase resilience against power cuts.
  • Perform a cost-benefit analysis to determine a suitable minimum level of resilience against power cuts.
  • Take lessons learned from outages caused by power cuts and ensure that affected providers work systematically to develop their protection measures.
  • Act to establish a strategy to promote cooperation and mutual aid agreements on joint service restoration after severe power cuts.
  • Consider a priority scheme that would give preferential treatment within the electronic communications sector and decrease service restoration times under exceptional circumstances.
  • Providers should regularly perform checks of existing protection measures, to ensure that shorter and medium duration power cuts will not have any negative impact.
  • NRAs, providers, and actors in the energy sector should, in the case of severe power cuts, cooperate to establish information exchange mechanisms to enable an efficient exchange of situational awareness information and forecasts of restoration times.

The executive director of ENISA, Professor Udo Helmbrecht commented: “The recommendations outline the necessary steps to reduce the risk of network outages and boosts ability to manage outages caused by power supply failures. We encourage the different actors to find ways to improve information-sharing about failures and outages, particularly between the energy sector and the electronic communications sector.”

Read the report.

•Date: 9th January 2014 • Europe/UK •Type: Article • Topic: BC general

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