Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP recently represented an energy company in obtaining the first public SAFETY Act certification for an internal enterprise-wide cybersecurity program.
Administered by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Supporting Anti-Terrorism by Fostering Effective Technologies Act of 2002, more commonly known as SAFETY Act, protects the reputation of and limits the liabilities faced by companies, including energy, financial, communications and other critical infrastructure companies, that deploy DHS approved technologies and services against certain cyber or physical attacks.
Todays environment of increased interconnectivity and intensified threats in our countrys critical infrastructure sectors is vastly different from that of the past, said Paul M. Tiao, co-chair of the firms energy sector security team. Particularly for companies in the energy, financial, communications and manufacturing sectors, as cyber and physical attacks become more rampant, the reputational damage they can cause “ and the amount of liability companies face in their wake “ could be monumental.
Congress passed the SAFETY Act with the intent of preventing potential terrorism-related liability from stifling the development or sale of anti-terrorism technologies and services “ making the nation less secure as a result, added Kevin W. Jones co-chair of the energy sector security team. The goal was to limit the potential reputational harm and legal liability faced by companies offering such products or services, and in some circumstances, to give them complete immunity.
The DHS process for approving an application for SAFETY Act protection takes several months after the companys submission of its application, and that is preceded by a sometimes-lengthy process of preparing the application. The application must address multiple statutory criteria and include information from stakeholders across the company. If approved, DHS grants the technology or service liability and reputational protections at one of three levels, with certification being the highest.
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About the Energy Sector Security Team and Cyber and Physical Security Task Force
Combining lawyers from more than a dozen practice groups, Hunton Andrews Kurths energy sector security team and its cyber and physical security task force work with companies in the electric utility, oil and natural gas, financial, communications, chemical, manufacturing and other critical infrastructure sectors to minimize the risks or consequences of a serious security incident. For more information, click here and here.
About Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP
Hunton Andrews Kurth is a global law firm of more than 1,000 lawyers handling transactional, litigation and regulatory matters for clients in myriad industries including energy, financial services, real estate, retail and consumer products and technology. Areas of practice focus include capital markets, mergers and acquisitions, intellectual property, P3, labor and employment, public finance and infrastructure, and privacy and cybersecurity. With offices across the United States and in Europe, the Middle East and Asia, we are aligned with our clients businesses and committed to delivering exceptional service. For more information, visit HuntonAK.com.
Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP
Zinie Sampson, +1 804-381-1272