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Keeping the Water Flowing Securely: How MSSPs Benefit Water Utilities

There are over 150,000 water utilities in the United States alone, silently working behind the scenes to deliver clean water to millions of homes and businesses every day. But what happens when a critical IT system fails or a cyberattack disrupts operations? The consequences can be severe, ranging from disrupted water delivery to even threats to public health.

This is where a Managed Security Service Provider (MSSP) steps in as a powerful ally for water utilities.

What is an MSSP?

An MSSP is a cybersecurity company that delivers ongoing security monitoring, threat detection, and incident response services to its clients. They act as an extension of your internal IT team, providing expertise and resources to safeguard your systems from ever-evolving cyber threats.

Why do Water Utilities Need an MSSP?

Water treatment and distribution systems are increasingly reliant on complex IT infrastructure. This includes Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) systems that control treatment plants, as well as data management systems for water quality monitoring and customer billing.

Here's how an MSSP can specifically benefit water utilities:

  • Enhanced Cybersecurity: MSSPs offer a comprehensive suite of security solutions, including firewalls, intrusion detection systems, and security information and event management (SIEM) tools. This allows for 24/7 monitoring of your network for suspicious activity and rapid response to potential threats.
  • Compliance Assistance: Water utilities, particularly larger ones, must navigate a complex web of regulations. MSSPs can help ensure compliance with industry standards like those set by the American Water Works Association (AWWA) by providing guidance on secure data collection and reporting practices.
  • Resource Optimization: Many water utilities struggle to find and retain qualified cybersecurity professionals. Partnering with an MSSP allows you to leverage their team of security experts, filling talent gaps and ensuring your systems are always protected.
  • Cost-Effectiveness: Building and maintaining an in-house security team can be expensive. An MSSP offers a cost-effective solution, providing access to advanced security tools and expertise on a subscription basis.

Real-World Example:

Imagine a scenario where a cyberattack disrupts a water treatment plant's SCADA system. Hackers could tamper with chemical dosing levels, potentially compromising water quality. An MSSP's proactive monitoring and rapid response could prevent such an attack, safeguarding public health.


Water utilities play a vital role in our communities. By partnering with an MSSP, they can ensure their IT infrastructure is secure, reliable, and compliant with regulations. This allows them to focus on their core mission: delivering clean water to the people they serve.

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