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Managing security threats in a digital world

What are the security imperatives for utilities in the face of increasing threats?

Overview

Effective infrastructure security for utilities demands a holistic approach, starting now

Across industries, cyber security threats are becoming increasingly focused on the digital sphere. They more commonly take the form of data breaches and malware, and are occurring with alarming regularity in the financial services, retail, technology and even government sectors.

While, to date, utilities have been largely been spared, the risks grow larger with each sensor, storage device and beyond-the-meter application linked to the grid. These digital connections, which make the grid “smart,” also make it more vulnerable.

With so much riding on the security of the grid, utilities need new solutions to defend the grid from bad actors and quickly recover from a physical or digital attack against the network. Utilities with a holistic response at the ready will have a better chance of keeping threats at bay.

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LESSONS IN PREPAREDNESS

Previous breaches have demonstrated that the most prepared organizations will have the quickest time to recovery—protecting the assets and data they hold.
JIM GUINN
Managing Director
Accenture Operations

BUSINESS RESILIENCE AND CYBER RISK

CYBERSECURITY FOR MICROGRIDS



Cyber-physical security for the microgrid: New perspectives to protect critical power infrastructure

Microgrids can offer a powerful solution to a range of challenges facing consumers and distribution networks. They can offer resilient power delivery. They can integrate large quantities of renewable generation through highly localized optimization of distributed generation output, demand flexibility and storage assets. And they can potentially deliver an effective approach for smaller, isolated systems in communities with limited connection to the grid or for specific strategic uses such as military bases or hospitals.

But microgrids also create new vulnerabilities. The increased penetration of their monitoring and control capabilities open up the possibilities for cyber security breaches. Mitigating those risks requires four key actions:

  • Reinforce the microgrid

  • Complete ongoing assessments of interconnection security controls

  • Plan and prepare for resilience

  • Resource the security strategy

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Cyber-physical Security for the Microgrid. New Perspectives to Protect Critical Power Infrastructure.
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