Compared to the IT Industry, the energy industry is late to the connectivity game. The pressing need to improve critical power distribution infrastructure uptime is accelerating the rate of change in this domain.

However, as the power networks merge and become smarter, the benefits of improved connectivity also open the door to more cyber security risks.

According to US Department of Homeland Security’s Industrial Control Systems Computer Emergency Response Team (ICS-CERT), 53 per cent of cyber security incidents reported and investigated by the agency in the first half of 2013 were related to the energy industry.

Securing substations

Now that cyber security is a top-of-mind concern, utility stakeholders are mimicking their IT peers and are scrambling to put their infrastructure security house in order. Within substations, proprietary devices once considered for specialized applications are now vulnerable. Sensitive information (such as online documentation that describes how these devices work) can be accessed via the internet by anyone, including those with malicious intent who wish to cause disruption.

This paper by Schneider Electric reviews processes and procedures for securing a substation, offers advice for overcoming substation asset management challenges, and describes some of the tools available.