“Shields Up” is the New Standard for Electric Utilities… But What About DERs?
- Apr 27, 2022 4:19 am GMT
This item is part of the Special Issue - 2022-04 - Cybersecurity 2022, click here for more
Cybersecurity has been on the list of utility challenges for some time. With the connected nature of geographically distributed assets and the dependence on IT and control systems to keep the lights on, utilities are typically right up there with financial markets as one of the most critical and cyber-vulnerable industries. A 2019 industry survey of 1,700 utility OT staffers responsible for cybersecurity from Daily Energy Insider reports that 56 percent said they experienced at least one shutdown or operation data loss in the last 12 months due to some form of cyber hack.
The utility industry has been grappling with cybersecurity for decades, but more formally since the NERC CIP (“North American Electric Reliability Corporation Critical Infrastructure Protection”) program was introduced in 2006 and approved by FERC (“Federal Energy reliability Commission”) in 2008 with the intent of regulating, enforcing, and managing security of the electric system. While having a formal, auditable standard like NERC CIP was a leap forward for the electric utility industry, this did raise questions of if NERC CIP compliance was equal to optimal security (cyber and physical). Looking at this in today’s environment with China, Russia, and other bad actors clearly postured to threaten or even attack the US electric grid, this is no longer simply a compliance exercise. It has now become quite literally a matter of life and death.
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