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What is More Critical than Utilities?

“Why launch a utility security magazine?” is a question I’ve heard a few times as we’ve worked over the past year to launch Utility Security. And my best response to that question is to ask this: When you hear the words “Flint, Michigan,” what is the first thing that comes to mind?

I would bet that you first thought about the water crisis event that happened 10 years ago. It made national headlines and led most news broadcasts for weeks at a time. Michigan’s governor at the time quickly declared a state of emergency and the National Guard was brought in to help distribute water. People panicked and felt lost without safe access to water.

And although it was before my time, if I mention the New York blackout of 1977, those who tuned into the news back at that time would have seen stories of a city that quickly descended into chaos, looting and vandalism. The end result was more than 100 stores damaged or set on fire, hundreds of police officers injured and thousands of looters arrested.

The bottom line is that when utilities stop functioning, it not only becomes the lead story for national news outlets for weeks, but it can also lead to our society quickly collapsing into a state of dysfunction. In the grand structure of security categorization, utilities are officially listed as “critical infrastructure” entities, along with schools, mass transit systems, hospitals, the postal service, roads and more.

And while all of those other entities are critical and important, it is hard to envision a system being more important to society than our utilities. After all, with the loss of utilities, many if not all of those other critical infrastructure entities would lose the ability to function as well. And as exhibited throughout past outage and crisis incidents, our society itself can quickly lose its ability to maintain stability. Without utilities, nearly all of us would feel completely lost.

This is why we launched Utility Security magazine. We know how important your role is as a security professional who protects our most vital critical infrastructure. Having published magazines, provided education and hosted conferences for the utility industry for the past 20 years—which has also included 20 years of connecting with utilities across the United States—we understand just how challenging the task is to keep utilities going in the face of ever-increasing physical and cyber threats.

We know the threats are coming from our own citizens and from adversaries abroad. And we want to help by providing you with insights, knowledge, perspectives and facts that help you grow your organization’s security. We want to build a community that helps each other grow, just like we have for utility safety professionals and utility fleet management professionals.

We are thankful to have you as a subscriber and hope you find value in this publication. We are also here to serve and would love to hear from you about what security challenges you want covered in our publication. Email us at and we’ll do our best to find the resources and information you and your security peers will value.