By Capt. Andrew Tucci 

While a gap in a fence, an unguarded gate, or a damaged security camera might be readily apparent to crewmembers and employees, the threats and vulnerabilities that lurk inside our computer systems are invisible to most of us. This lack of visibility makes it easy to overlook or underestimate cybersecurity risks to an organization.

Capt. Andrew Tucci, chief of the Coast Guard Office of Port and Facility Compliance, is responsible for safety and security policies for our nation’s ports and facilities. 

To highlight the need for senior management to tackle cybersecurity for their organizations, I’d like to share a speech by U.S. Securities and Exchange Commissioner Luis Aguilar, “Cyber Risks and the Boardroom”, delivered at a New York Stock Exchange conference.

In his speech, Aguilar encourages responsible company officials to include cyber security as part of an organization’s broad risk management program. He also points out that in assessing their risks, boards of directors should consider the Cybersecurity Framework, a voluntary collection of industry standards and best practices developed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, or NIST.

The Coast Guard encourages the maritime industry to review the Cybersecurity Framework as well. When considering cyber-related risks, vessel and facility operators should ensure that they apply the framework or equivalent standards to cyber-dependent systems that perform vital security, safety, and environmental functions on vessels, and in ports and on waterfront facilities. This voluntary program can make a real difference in reducing the risk of a transportation security incident that could harm people, the environment, property, or otherwise disrupt business activity.

I encourage you to read Aguilar’s speech, and to think about how you can evaluate and address cybersecurity risks. The Coast Guard has more cybersecurity information on the cyber security section of Homeport.

• Respond on Maritime Commons or tweet your questions or comments to @maritimecommons and use the hashtag #maritimecyber
• The Coast Guard will take comments and questions during the month of October
• One question per tweet or blog post so the Coast Guard can fully address each one individually
• Stay on topic and keep questions to issues involving safety on the Outer Continental Shelf
• Comments are moderated and those that stray off topic or are unprofessional will not be approved

One of the most emergent and current issue on this front is cybersecurity. October 2014 is the 11th annual National Cyber Security Awareness Month sponsored by the Department of Homeland Security. As a part of this effort, the Coast Guard will be hosting a discussion about cybersecurity on Maritime Commons throughout the month of October. The Coast Guard will be share tips, resources and useful information to protect against cyber threats and accidents within the maritime community. 

This post originally appeared on Coast Guard Maritime Commons. 

A collection of stories from guest authors.