CISA Updates IT Employees ‘Essential’ Status

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The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) updated its language around the essential status of IT and operational technology employees and contractors in version 3.0 of its Guidance on Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers for the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, released today.

The updated guidance clarifies, “The vast majority of our economy relies on technology and therefore information technology (IT) and operational technology (OT) workers for critical infrastructure operations are essential. This includes workers in many roles, including workers focusing on management systems, control systems, and Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) systems, and data centers; cybersecurity engineering; and cybersecurity risk management.”

Essential tech critical infrastructure employees include workers supporting command centers, data center operators, workers needed to respond to cyberattacks, and workers supporting telework solutions for other essential businesses, among other positions. The update guidance is intended to help both government and private sector organizations identity and manage their essential workforce during the COVID-19 outbreak.

“Based on feedback we received, we released version 3.0 of the Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers Guidance, which provides clarity around a range of positions needed to support the essential functions laid out in earlier versions,” Director Christopher Krebs said.

He continued, “This guidance is not a Federal mandate, and final decisions remain with state and local officials, who must determine how to balance public health and safety with the need to maintain critical infrastructure in their communities.”

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