Skip to main content Skip to Footer

LATEST THINKING


Assault and batteries:
Protecting all aspects of the grid

Learn how utility grids have gotten smarter—and more vulnerable—than ever. And what to do to protect them.

Overview

Utilities are more vulnerable than ever to cyberattacks. Partly because of the batteries used to bring enhanced reliability to the grid.

But those same batteries introduce vulnerabilities that need to be addressed in seconds instead of days. The answer isn’t to forego the digital innovation enabled by batteries. The benefits to utility companies are too great for that. But given the added vulnerability of grid batteries, leading utilities will be ones that act now to shore up security—gaining real-time insight into operations. Insight that helps them prevent or minimize cyberattacks.

DOWNLOAD ASSAULT AND BATTERIES: PROTECTING ALL ASPECTS OF THE GRID [PDF]

Key Findings

Accenture analysis shows that, in the last five years, nearly 20 percent of new power generation in the United States came from distributed energy resources (DER). And fully 60 percent of utility executives anticipate applying energy storage solutions to integrate DER as “shock absorbers” for the grid.

That’s the good news. The bad news? With DER comes increased cybersecurity risks. Aggressive adversaries are innovating and evolving—and utilities must similarly adapt and learn.

But the “discover and cure” time for cyberattacks is roughly eight months: a lifetime when it comes to protecting assets that can be irreversibly damaged in the space of a few seconds.

Now, with increasingly sophisticated and destructive cyber threats, utilities must react in seconds to protect the grid infrastructure from being physically damaged and maintain the lifeline that powers society and energizes the digital economy.

Utilities need a two-pronged strategy: embracing digital capabilities and significantly enhancing cybersecurity capabilities.

Protecting the grid

Recommendations

To shore up operations against cyberattacks, utilities need to:

Embrace digital: Utilities must embrace the realities of digital business models and core enabling technologies. As with every generation of disruptive technology, the temptation to avoid or delay adoption is seductive, but inevitably incorrect.

Defend cyber: Utilities must develop sophisticated cyber defence capabilities. Moving beyond traditional risk mitigation protocols (like compliance with standards and basic “hygiene”).

Integrate the industry: Addressing ever-evolving cyber threats from sophisticated aggressors is complex. While some actions are suitable for individual utility adoption, others will require integration across the industry sector and regulatory collaboration.

LEARN MORE ABOUT ACCENTURE STRATEGY


Authors

SUGGESTED CONTENT