An alliance of chemical-industry trade associations and companies named the Chemicals Sector Cyber-Security Information Sharing Forum said it is endorsing an industry cyber-security strategy that focuses on risk management and reduction.

The strategy is designed to provide secure information and process control systems that will enable collaborative business operations within the industry, the group said.

A group of 12 trade associations has joined the industry forum, including the National Paint & Coatings Association, American Chemistry Council, National Association of Chemical Distributors, and Synthetic Organic Chemical Manufacturers Association.

The group said the cyber-security strategy expands the scope of security initiatives already under way in the chemicals industry, and said the strategy responds to the President's Critical Infrastructure Protection Board's objective to engage both the public and private sectors in the development of security strategies.

The industry forum consists of senior-level company officials and/or staff representatives of trade associations and individual companies representing key chemical-industry segments. The forum is led by David E. Kepler, Corporate vice president and chief information officer of The Dow Chemical Co.

The industry forum said the Chemicals Sector Cyber-Security Strategy represents a "natural extension of the industry's proven practices for information systems, security and environmental health and safety." The group said the strategy defines an action plan to develop "cyber-security standards, products and practices necessary to shield proprietary information and facilitate safe operations." The forum chartered a task team comprised of 16 high-level experts from the chemicals industry to develop the strategy.

The industry forum is recommending adoption of a Chemicals Sector Cyber-Security Program that calls for involvement and commitment across the sector; creation of a cyber-security public-affairs program; establishment of voluntary sector practices and standards; creation of an information sharing network; and acceleration of improved security technology and solutions development. A proposed Cyber-Security Information Sharing Network will distribute advance warnings of cyber-security threats, vulnerabilities and incidents.

Further details about the forum and the cyber-security strategy will be announced, the group said.