Critical Infrastructure Protection & Resilience North America

Brian Harrell

Brian Harrell, CPP

Vice President of Security



Brian Harrell is a nationally recognized expert on critical infrastructure protection, continuity of operations, and cybersecurity risk management. Harrell is the Vice President of Security at AlertEnterprise, a Silicon Valley based technology and advisory firm, where he provides critical infrastructure companies with consultation on risk mitigation, protective measures, and compliance guidance.  In his current role, he has been instrumental in providing strategic counsel and thought leadership for the security and resiliency of the power grid and has helped entities identify and understand emerging threats. Advising utilities throughout North America, Harrell has worked to increase physical and cybersecurity mitigation measures designed to deter, detect, and defend critical energy systems. Harrell is also a Distinguished Fellow at the Ponemon Institute and serves as an advisor for information security policy initiatives.

Prior to AlertEnterprise, Harrell was the Director of the North American Electric Reliability Corporation’s (NERC) Electricity Information Sharing and Analysis Center (E-ISAC) and was charged with leading NERC’s efforts to provide timely threat information to over 1900 bulk power system owners, operators, and government stakeholders. During his time at NERC, Harrell was also the Director of Critical Infrastructure Protection Programs, where he led the creation of the Grid Security Exercise, provided leadership to Critical Infrastructure Protection (CIP) staff, and initiated security training and outreach designed to help utilities “harden” their infrastructure from attack.

Prior to coming to the electricity sector, Harrell was a program manager with the Infrastructure Security Compliance Division at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) where he specialized in securing high risk chemical facilities and providing compliance guidance for the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS). For nearly a decade of world-wide service, Harrell served in the US Marine Corps as an Infantryman and Anti-Terrorism and Force Protection Instructor, where he conducted threat and vulnerability assessments for Department of Defense installations.

Harrell has received many accolades for his work in critical infrastructure protection and power grid security, including awards from Security Magazine, CSO, AFCEA, and GovSec. Harrell maintains the Certified Protection Professional (CPP) certification and holds a bachelor’s degree from Hawaii Pacific University, a master of education degree from Central Michigan University, and a master of homeland security degree from Pennsylvania State University.

Keeping the Lights on: Protecting America’s Electric Grid from Attack

Securing the North American power grid is a top priority for both regulators and utilities. While the industry remains focused on grid resiliency, physical and cybersecurity threats remain that could impact generation, transmission, and distribution operations. This session will review best practices for securing electric infrastructure and discuss the impact of the NERC standards (and how they may be inhibiting technology innovation), the potential for federal legislation, and emerging threats facing energy providers. Presenters will also discuss the economic and interdependency impact of a significant “outage”, utility reputational risk, and the response and recovery aftermath of a major security breach