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Outsmarting
Grid
security
threats

#DIGITALLYENABLEDGRID

CAUTION…CYBER THREATS AHEAD

There is a clear, significant threat to electricity distribution grids.

A sustained failure of the electricity grid has the potential for devastating consequences. From transportation, to health and human and services, to food security, virtually every infrastructure is dependent on the grid.

While distribution utilities are well-practiced at restoring grids after adverse weather or asset failure, Accenture research has revealed that only half of utility executives thought they were well-prepared for the challenges of an interruption from cyber attack.

Putting cybersecurity at the core of the smart grid will be critical for distribution businesses to fulfill their core mandate of delivering reliable power to society. To do so, distribution utilities will need to make bold moves toward a more resilient power delivery system.

 

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+50% of utility executives

DEVELOPING A RESILIENT
DELIVERY SYSTEM

Only 48% of utility executives

Perfect protection for distribution electricity grids is virtually impossible. However, what is critical is for utilities to design and build resilient systems and develop an agile and swift capability that creates and leverages situational awareness, and that can quickly react and intervene to protect the grid.

Our experience has shown that two of the greatest challenges to effective preparedness and response are not external factors. In fact, they are:

Cultural and organizational

  1. Cultural and organizational siloes that exist between operations and technology business units.

Decreasing number of personnel

  1. Decreasing number of personnel available to operate the grid without technology in the event of a successful attack.

FIVE MOVES TO OUTSMART GRID
SECURITY THREATS

While there is no one single path forward, there are some moves any distribution business should consider to strengthen resilience and response to cyber attacks. These steps could allow the building and scaling of cyber-defense capabilities:

1

Investigate a platform approach to cybersecurity capabilities.

2

Integrate resilience into asset and process design.

3

Share threat information.

4

Develop security and emergency management governance models.

5

Develop relationships with regional security officials and with cyber-response experts.

Cyber attacks are the new reality for utilities. But it’s not all bad news. Distribution businesses are well-versed at delivering reliable power in the face of storms, asset failures and accidents. Building cybersecurity capabilities at the heart of the smart grid is now the imperative and the opportunity for utilities.

 

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