U.K. smart grid cyber security fragmented, study finds


London, U.K. — (METERING.COM) — June 30, 2011 – Cyber security management approaches for the U.K.’s current electricity network tend to be somewhat fragmented, with responsibility split across different parts of the electricity networks companies, according to a new report.

Further, cyber security is perceived to be a sub-project of other initiatives, in some cases being seen solely as a technical issue, and there is also a strong dependency with security of supply

These are among the findings of the report, UK Smart Grid Cyber Security, which was commissioned by the Energy Networks Association (ENA) for the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) and prepared by Kema.

The report comes just as a newly formed taskforce is set to meet, bringing together the networks operators and government to discuss how the future influx of IT and communications on the grid will be protected.

The report finds that although plans for distribution network operators and government are rigorous, a more coherent and joined-up approach is needed to meet the concerns of the future.

In particular, the report recommends that at national level cyber security should be considered from a collaborative perspective industry-wide, and a risk assessment process should be developed to manage and inform the U.K.’s smart grid activities. Smart grid cyber security considerations also should be incorporated into the work of the Smart Grids Forum, and they should be part of the evaluation criteria for the government funded smart grid pilot projects.

Recommendations for the networks operators include developing an operational security management system to bring cyber security under the explicit control of management and considering risk assessment and detailed audit programs to establish gaps in current practices.

“I am grateful to the ENA for this report, which I am sure will prove to be an important contribution to making sure our electricity grid infrastructure remains secure,” commented energy minister Charles Hendry. “We will study its recommendations carefully.”

The ENA’s chief executive, David Smith indicated that the Association is keen to work with government so that cyber security reflects the risks posed to the critical networks infrastructure.