Many of the salient issues related the grid management have been elaborated earlier. However, the proposed digital conversion comes with a serious warning on security issues considering the complexity that goes into digitalising different sections of the grid operation and maintenance.
Since this happens to be a new experience, there are many lessons that we need to learn as we flow through the changes that have been suggested. Protection, automation and control, abbreviated as PAC has complicated inter-connections and a simple fault at one end may trigger the change in the entire system. One has to therefore restrict such limitations to a smaller section in order to set right the fault in the quickest time possible. Power grid is quite a notorious one to be handled properly and more sensibly.
The quick revival seems to be the key for some organisations while others see a screen of uncertainty fog and unclear of their position once the crisis is over. None of us can forecast what the future will be like as everyone is as unclear as the other.
Generally, cyber security refers to data breaching which varies in size and structure depending upon the type of organization we wish to consider. As I said earlier, digital technology provides extremely useful data and any breach would be pretty serious especially when privacy is of utmost importance to any utility more so for energy sector. One would realise the impact of loss of electricity or for that matter even water.
There are equally competitive cyber security advisors, companies helping utilities to safeguard their data. Despite this, you cannot escape breach. There have been examples in the form of malicious worm that targeted SCADA sometime back which disturbed the watershed. It is indeed a paradoxical situation as we find cyber attackers seem to be smarter as the saying goes, “A thief is smarter than the police”.
Digital jungles of power grids are the targets as sensors, smart meters and integrated cloud services are an integrated network of both hardware and software. Because of its proximity to society, energy industry has a massive responsibility and could face a degree of negative impact – Ukraine cyber-attacks of 2015-2016 serves as a good example on the kind of disruption of life. In simpler terms, Energy sector is sandwiched between cyber security and public safety. Summing up, energy sector cannot escape cyber-attacks but, could try hard to minimise and engage more experts to look at plugging vulnerable points to the extent possible.
We will therefore need new security technologies to detect threats before they occur or escalate into a crisis.