Smart grid security a top priority

Movement toward the smart grid continues to evolve with North American utilities, but security issues continue to keep executives up at night.

09/08/2011


More than 75% of the respondents surveyed said security investments are of the highest importance. At the same time, 38% of the respondents said security is one of their top IT initiatives this year.

In 2011, utilities are spending their budgets updating security appliances and software, especially focusing on client security (antivirus, anti spam, anti-malware) and intrusion prevention, according to the results.

Although security initiatives in the smart grid continue to move ahead, these efforts may not be sufficient. While large investor-owned utilities (IOUs) and public cooperative utilities are spending money and setting up best practices to streamline security, they only embody 20% of the utilities in the United States. To enable industry-wide momentum, chief information officers (CIO) and chief information security officers (CISO) will need to carefully evaluate the architecture to ensure end-to-end infrastructure safety and protection, given all the unknowns in the smart grid arena.

Key findings in the report include:

  • More than 60% of respondents plan investments in new security solutions or maintaining or upgrading their existing solutions. Planned investment in security software is particularly high: 58% of respondents stated that investment in security software will comprise 25-49% of their budget.
  • A majority of utility CIOs recognize that data protection will be a key issue. Some utilities are already collecting large amounts of data via their pilot programs, and they are starting to realize that to win customers’ confidence, they have to employ protection schemes.
  • Utility CIOs express concern about the lack of security standards for home area networks (HANs), which will push security vulnerabilities upstream, requiring the utility to perform ongoing vulnerability testing in multiple areas.

“There’s great momentum in the industry toward ensuring security is addressed in smart grid projects; however, these efforts are led by 50% of the large utility companies,” said Usman Sindhu, senior research analyst, IDC Energy Insights. “While investments are picking up, utility companies are still behind on developing a security-aware culture. CIOs and CISOs will play a key role; they should be ready to work with operations and engineering groups to ensure security and risk practices are implemented.”

- Edited by Chris Vavra, Plant Engineering, www.plantengineering.com 



No comments
The Engineers' Choice Awards highlight some of the best new control, instrumentation and automation products as chosen by...
The System Integrator Giants program lists the top 100 system integrators among companies listed in CFE Media's Global System Integrator Database.
Each year, a panel of Control Engineering and Plant Engineering editors and industry expert judges select the System Integrator of the Year Award winners in three categories.
This eGuide illustrates solutions, applications and benefits of machine vision systems.
Learn how to increase device reliability in harsh environments and decrease unplanned system downtime.
This eGuide contains a series of articles and videos that considers theoretical and practical; immediate needs and a look into the future.
Controller programming; Safety networks; Enclosure design; Power quality; Safety integrity levels; Increasing process efficiency
Additive manufacturing benefits; HMI and sensor tips; System integrator advice; Innovations from the industry
Robotic safety, collaboration, standards; DCS migration tips; IT/OT convergence; 2017 Control Engineering Salary and Career Survey
Featured articles highlight technologies that enable the Industrial Internet of Things, IIoT-related products and strategies to get data more easily to the user.
This article collection contains several articles on how automation and controls are helping human-machine interface (HMI) hardware and software advance.
This digital report will explore several aspects of how IIoT will transform manufacturing in the coming years.

Find and connect with the most suitable service provider for your unique application. Start searching the Global System Integrator Database Now!

Infrastructure for natural gas expansion; Artificial lift methods; Disruptive technology and fugitive gas emissions
Mobility as the means to offshore innovation; Preventing another Deepwater Horizon; ROVs as subsea robots; SCADA and the radio spectrum
Future of oil and gas projects; Reservoir models; The importance of SCADA to oil and gas
Automation Engineer; Wood Group
System Integrator; Cross Integrated Systems Group
Jose S. Vasquez, Jr.
Fire & Life Safety Engineer; Technip USA Inc.
This course focuses on climate analysis, appropriateness of cooling system selection, and combining cooling systems.
This course will help identify and reveal electrical hazards and identify the solutions to implementing and maintaining a safe work environment.
This course explains how maintaining power and communication systems through emergency power-generation systems is critical.

(copy 5)

click me