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News

Work begins on industrial network security certification

SANS Institute : 20 September, 2013  (Company News)
Certification body GIAC is working with industrial representatives to develop a cyber security certification program for industrial networking security
Work begins on industrial network security certification

Global Information Assurance Certification (GIAC), part of SANS, and representatives from a global industry collaborative have formed a community initiative to establish an open body of knowledge for Process Control Design and Information Technology Security. The objective of the collaborative, involving organizations which design, deploy, operate, and maintain industrial automation and control system infrastructure, is to develop a vendor-neutral certification to be known as the Global Industrial Cyber Security Professional (GICSP) to debut this fall. The GICSP will be available to candidates in late November 2013.

"Protecting industrial control and automation systems from constantly evolving cyber security threats is a very challenging task shared by all involved stakeholders. The foundation for any successful program is the people involved in developing, designing, operating and maintaining these systems. We are therefore proud to be part of the creation of the first professional certification program for industrial control system cyber security. The effort did not only result in a certification program that will advance workforce development, but it is also an industry commitment to improve the security of our critical infrastructure," stated Markus Braendle, Group Head of Cyber Security, ABB, Zurich, Switzerland.

Warnings about attacks to critical infrastructure have been circulating for years, but in recent years real threats have been identified and have had an identifiable impact on critical infrastructure assets and systems. Critical infrastructures, such as power utilities and the oil and gas industry, must keep the operational environment safe, secure and resilient against current and emerging cyber threats to maintain the safety of workers and well being of customers and the communities they serve. One of the key challenges these industries are facing is educating and certifying a workforce that need to possess the knowledge, skills and abilities to securely deploy and maintain process control systems. The GISCP is being developed to meet this challenge.

“Managing cyber risk is an issue effecting the entire energy industry ecosystem and in order to effectively implement and sustain security controls on industrial infrastructure, we’re all reliant on a complex ecosystem of people (system vendors, project engineering contractors, process operators, IT service providers and maintenance/support personnel) who require a blended set of IT/Engineering/Cyber Security competencies – a skill-pool which is unique and scarce in today’s marketplace,” said Tyler Williams, Manager, PCD IT Security Solutions at Shell and Chair of the industry consortium. “Developing and maintaining this workforce can be a challenge for any one organization and that is why we support this collaborative effort to establish a community developed body of knowledge and certification program for industrial cyber security. “

GIAC and the industry leaders have worked to establish a panel of Subject Matter Experts (SME) to identify the knowledge, skills and abilities necessary to develop the certification objectives for the GICSP.  The SME panel met in Houston, Texas in May 2013, to begin this process. A further outcome of the SME panel is to develop a Job Task Analysis survey, which is sent to a broad array of critical infrastructure participants to ensure the certification aligns to job duties. The GICSP expects adoption on a global basis as a gateway certification in the cyber security domain for industrial control systems.

“GIAC is actively engaging with industrial control systems (ICS) security and engineering experts to develop a broad based and foundational certification that will begin to prepare enterprises, global agencies and governments to mitigate and implement a process to address ICS cyber security concerns,” said Michael Assante, SANS ICS Director.

The global industry experts involved in this initiative include representatives from national and international companies including ABB, BP, Cigital, Cimation, Emerson Process Management, Invensys, KPMG, Rockwell Automation, SANS Institute, Schneider Electric, Shell and Yokogawa.

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