Smart grid cyber security revenue to rise

If smart grids can realize their full potential, consumers, utilities, nations, and even the earth itself will benefit. As with nearly any new technology, the industry focus has been on getting smart grids up and running, often with little consideration for cyber security issues.

However, a new report finds that investment in securing the grid from malicious attacks, natural disasters, and other accidents is picking up pace.

Pike Research expects that smart grid cyber security spending will increase 62% between 2010 and 2011, and by 2015 the annual worldwide market spending in this critical sector will reach $1.3 billion.

“Smart grid cyber security is significantly more complex than the traditional IT security world. It is a common misperception that IT networks and industrial control systems have the same cyber security issues and can be secured with the same countermeasures. They cannot,” says senior analyst Bob Lockhart. “To successfully secure the electrical grid, utilities and their key suppliers must design solutions that effectively bridge the worlds of information and operations technology.”

Lockhart adds that effective smart grid cyber security deployments will address a wide variety of key issues:

  • Stronger identity management
  • Multi-factor authentication on powerful consoles
  • Computer incident response
  • Change management, asset management, and configuration management
  • Business continuity planning
  • Defense-in-depth for IT and ICS networks
  • Stronger security on SCADA control systems
  • More secure interfaces between IT and ICS networks
  • Video monitoring capabilities for substations and control rooms
  • End-to-end encryption of data from the home area network (HAN) to the utility central site
  • Need to prevent worms from spreading through smart meters
  • Stronger cyber security software on smart meters
  • Resiliency throughout the advanced metering infrastructure (AMI)
  • Data integrity for electric vehicle recharging transactions
  • Data privacy for electric vehicle billing data and recharging transactions
  • Security awareness education for all affected employees.

Over the next few years, Pike Research anticipates that growth in the smart grid cyber security market will produce opportunities not only for hardware and software sales, but also for a number of new professional services opportunities. These service offerings will help utilities navigate the minefield of threats and challenges that pose fundamental risks to the integrity of the grid infrastructure.

The complete report is available here.

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