coworkers at computer (SFIO CRACHO/

CISA lists critical IT, telecom workers

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency has identified the workers considered especially critical to protecting public safety and economic and national security in an effort to help state and local communities prioritize their responses during the pandemic.

The March 19 memo and attachment from CISA Director Chris Krebs lists workers essential to continued critical infrastructure viability in the 16 critical infrastructure sectors that include public health, utilities, telecommunications, IT, transportation and logistics, law enforcement and public works.

 “Reliance on technology and just-in-time supply chains means that certain workers must be able to access certain sites, facilities, and assets to ensure continuity of functions,” Krebs said. The list was developed in consultation with federal agency partners, industry experts and state and local officials and recognizes that decisions and responses are executed locally.

When it comes to IT and communications employees deemed essential, the list includes:

  • Workers command centers and data centers, systems administrators, security personnel and IT managers – as well as manufacturers and equipment suppliers – responsible for IT and communications used by law enforcement, public safety, medical, energy and other critical industries.
  • Those who maintain communications public and private communications infrastructure and regional networks.
  • Cybersecurity employees responding to attacks on critical infrastructure.
  • Staff supporting the technology infrastructure for computing services, such as cloud computing business infrastructure and web-based services.
  • Customer service and help desk staff to aid employees transitioning to remote work and to support payroll, billing, fraud and troubleshooting.

The list is not intended to be authoritative or exhaustive, but rather asks state and local officials, along with industry partners, to use their judgment in implementing the guidance as they work to balance public safety with services delivery.

“CISA will continue to work with you and our partners in the critical infrastructure community to update this list as the Nation’s response to COVID-19 evolves,” Krebs wrote. “We also encourage you to submit how you might use this list so that we can develop a repository of use cases for broad sharing across the country. Feedback can be sent to [email protected].”

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