Maintaining visibility of the grid boundary has the potential to become an unmanageable task. As the smart grid and energy management systems evolve rapidly, in line with this the number of possible access points increases dramatically. This increased attack surface has direct implications the complexity and strategy required from the major European utilities’ cybersecurity resilience efforts.
The threat from nation state level attackers and well-equipped malicious parties with malintent has never been more real. Types of attacks and frequency of these attacks is increasing and it’s imperative that all national critical infrastructure operators such as utilities stay in touch with these and deploy appropriate cybersecurity defences.
The CISO’s and indeed all employees within a utility’s primary concern is keeping the lights on and ensuring a reliable power supply in the face of this adversity. Therefore, it is essential that the CISO is empowered to make changes needed and implement new cybersecurity solutions as required across the network.
The new technologies and software that are being incorporated into the grid infrastructure as part of the ongoing modernisation and shift towards the digital smart grid are creating huge vulnerability issues for CISOs and cybersecurity professionals. A complete understanding of the hardware and software assets within the grid is both mandatory for controlling cybersecurity risk, as well as fast becoming an impossible task due to the frequency and complexity of grid enhancements. The shift in hardware and software requirements for power distribution networks requires suppliers to work with utilities to develop bespoke solutions with security considered in the design phase.
In short, moving from a conventional power distribution network to a fully smart grid requires a complete overhaul of the utilities’ cybersecurity efforts if end-to-end security is to be achieved.
Monitoring the increasing data flowing through the smart grid network can allow for more accurate predictions and energy flow management, this will become increasingly more important with the continued integration of DER. However, with the variety of multi-vendor solutions continuously being continuously added and upgraded in the network understanding the normal network state has become increasingly difficult.
Utilities must adopt advanced monitoring techniques to be able to accurately map this. Only with an accurate view of the normal state can systems detect anomalies and intrusions interfering with the smart grid. When adding new products that cannot be tested accurately with high fidelity simulation models, assessing the new normal state can be problematic. Utilities must work with suppliers to incorporate rigorous testing and security by design in all future additions to the smart grid to achieve a continued robust cybersecurity solution.
It is clear there are many issues facing smart grid utilities with regards to ensuring a satisfactory level of cybersecurity across the entire power network. These areas are of key importance but by no means an exclusive to-do list for utility cybersecurity professionals.
To enable the industry to overcome these challenges, Smart Grid Cybersecurity 2020 will showcase 14+ utility grid operator use cases through an in-depth and meticulously researched programme. They will outline their implementation success that attendees can take back to implement in their own organisation. Alongside this, the high-level CISO panel will ensure attendees gain a thorough understanding of the challenges CISOs are looking to solve, as well as vital information on supplier relationship management to ensure security by design in future smart grid solutions.
Attendees will gain unique insights into the factors influencing their choice of cybersecurity solutions and the steps they took to ensure collaboration between specialists from the OT and IT fields. You will learn about the technical, organisational, and cultural barriers to achieving robust end-to-end cybersecurity, and how to overcome these. Alongside the technical information presented, the conference will bring together a carefully curated gathering of the most innovative, cutting-edge vendors as identified in our research. Attendees will be able to assess the most suitable solutions to their needs which are currently on the market and start to further enhance their cybersecurity resilience.
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Smart Grid Forums is an independent conference producer specialised in the smart grid sector. We work hand in hand with engineering professionals to create innovative event concepts and high-quality programmes that inform technical decision makers and enable them to deliver exceptional results.
Our approach is entirely market led. We stay exceptionally close to industry developments. Through our regular, rigorous and unbiased process of depth research with TSOs, DSOs, power generators, engineering consultancies, and technology innovators, we stay one step ahead of industry developments and provide live events that act as a catalyst for new ideas, new directions, and new approaches to achieving future energy security.