ENISA issues report on how to act after power cuts

EU cyber security Agency ENISA has issued a new report studying network outages caused by power cuts in detail, resulting in key findings and 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.

ENISA’s annual report about major incidents in the EU identified that power cuts are a dominant cause of severe network and service outages in the EU’s electronic communications sector.

Electronic communications networks and services are the backbone of the EU’s digital society, indispensable for citizens, businesses, governments and organisations to communicate and exchange information. 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.

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.”

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