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Public/Private Partnership Looks To Secure State’s Critical infrastructure From Cyberattacks

For Immediate Release: Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Contact: Tony Mangan, Public Information Officer, 605-773-6196





Public/Private Partnership Looks To Secure

State’s Critical infrastructure From Cyberattacks  


PIERRE, S.D. –South Dakota’s public and private entities Friday committed again to work together to strengthen the state’s cybersecurity systems.


At a meeting in Sioux Falls, representatives of governmental entities, telecommunications industry and electrical utilities discussed how to share resources and information in a cooperative way to increase cybersecurity for some of the critical infrastructure in South Dakota. 


“In our agencies, businesses and organizations, the threat of cyberattacks is real,” says Lt. Gov. Matt Michels. “It makes sense to work together to determine how we can assist one another with cybersecurity issues.”


Speakers at the Friday meeting included Lt. Gov. Michels and cybersecurity experts.  Mick Kirwan from Western Area Power Administration (WAPA) says the issues discussed centered on protection of grid systems and communications areas.


“There are so many components to cyber security; from threat detection, information sharing and response,” Kirwan says. “We want to make sure we look at all avenues of protection and security.”


State Public Safety Department Secretary Trevor Jones says cyberattacks and the potential for disaster will only increase.  The state needs to be prepared just as if it was a natural disaster such as a flood or blizzard.  He says those attending Friday’s meeting plan to meet again, seek additional partners and continue the discussions.


“Cybersecurity is never done,” says Jones. “We have to remain vigilant because any attacks on anyone’s digital infrastructure will have far-reaching consequences.”


Besides the Department of Public Safety, other government agencies involved in the cybersecurity efforts include the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the South Dakota Fusion Center, South Dakota Bureau of Information and Telecommunications, the South Dakota National Guard and Attorney General’s Office/South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation.


Private companies and associations involved in the project are SDN Communications, Midco, Xcel Energy, South Dakota Telecommunications Association, Northwestern Energy Co., East River Electric Cooperative, Western Area Power Administration (WAPA), MidAmerican Energy, Verizon and Black Hills Energy.