Infastructure Security Month
Each November is recognized as Infrastructure Security Month. This year’s theme is Critical Infrastructure in a Time of Transformation, in recognition of the rapid shifts in technology as we adapt to the COVID-19 environment. We will highlight information technology and healthcare systems, which have changed rapidly over the past seven months due to the COVID-19 response. We will also focus on the seismic shift to remote work and school, as well as critical infrastructure resilience in the face of natural disasters and insider threats. In recognition of this moment in history, Infrastructure Security Month 2020 will focus on two important themes:
- Security and Response During a Time of Transformation
- In 2020, the global pandemic has focused our attention on key infrastructures such as communications and healthcare and has highlighted the importance of essential critical infrastructure workers. As the Nation has undergone a transformative mass move to remote work, distance learning, and telemedicine, the importance of cybersecurity has never been more apparent.
- The Future of Securing Critical Infrastructure
- The Nation’s critical infrastructure faces an increasing range of threats, from extreme weather to acts of terrorism. The evolving nature of the threat to critical infrastructure—as well as the maturation of our work and partnership with the private sector—has caused us to shift our focus from asset protection to that of building resilience from all threats and hazards. As the Nation grapples with critical infrastructure impacts today, we must continue to plan for the resilient infrastructure of tomorrow.
What is Infrastructure Security Month?
Infrastructure Security Month is an annual effort to educate and engage the private sector, all levels of government, and the American public about the vital role critical infrastructure plays in our Nation’s wellbeing and why it is important to strengthen critical infrastructure security and resilience.
What is critical infrastructure?
The Nation's critical infrastructure provides the essential services that underpin American society. Ensuring delivery of essential services and functions is important to sustaining the American way of life.
There are 16 critical infrastructure sectors whose assets, systems, and networks—both physical and virtual—are considered so vital to the United States that their incapacitation or destruction would have a debilitating effect on security, national economic security, national public health or safety, or a combination of any of these. They include the chemical; commercial facilities; communications; critical manufacturing; dams; defense industrial base; emergency services; energy; financial services; food and agriculture; government facilities; healthcare and public health; information technology; nuclear reactors, materials, and waste; transportation systems; and water and wastewater systems sectors.
America’s national security and economic prosperity are increasingly dependent upon critical infrastructure that is at risk from a variety of hazards and threats, both natural and man-made. These hazards and threats include aging or failing infrastructure, extreme weather, cyberattacks, or evolving terrorism threats that impact our economy and communities. Critical infrastructure security and resilience require a clear understanding of the risks we face and a whole community effort that involves partnership between public, private, and nonprofit sectors.
Who is the critical infrastructure community?
The critical infrastructure community includes the owners and operators of critical infrastructure, officials across all levels of government, and ultimately, all of us who benefit from the critical infrastructure around us.
Just as we all rely on critical infrastructure, we all play a role in keeping it strong, secure, and resilient. Securing and making critical infrastructure resilient is a shared responsibility—shared by federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial governments; private companies; and individual citizens.
The American public can do their part at home, at work, and in their local communities by being prepared for all hazards, reporting suspicious activities to local law enforcement, and learning more about critical infrastructure security and resilience.
Why is it important to focus on the critical infrastructure needs of the country?
Critical infrastructure provides essential services that we use every day. Due to the various dependencies and interdependencies between infrastructure sectors, a disruption or breakdown in any one sector could create cascading effects that impact other sectors, which, in turn, affects still more sectors. This year, COVID-19, natural disasters, and the Presidential elections have converged, driving a rapid and dramatic change in how we work, learn, vote, and socialize. Consequently, we are seeing shifts in how we use and rely on critical infrastructure. Information technology and healthcare systems bear the brunt of the impacts from mass telework and distance learning, as well as the detection, prevention, and treatment of COVID-19.
The majority of our Nation’s critical infrastructure is privately owned and operated, and both the government and private sector have a shared responsibility to prevent and reduce the risks of disruptions to critical infrastructure. Investments in infrastructure protection are crucial to the resilience of the public and private sectors.
Together, public and private efforts to strengthen critical infrastructure show a correlated return on
investment. Not only do these efforts help the public sector enhance security and rapidly respond to and recover from all hazards, but they also help the private sector restore business operations and minimize losses in the face of an event.
Information provided by the Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), cisa.gov/ismonth