ENISA reports on smart grid cyber security measures

The EU’s cyber security agency ENISA has investigated the challenges for baseline smart grids protection in Europe.

This new report assists smart grid providers to improve their cyber security and resilience of their infrastructures, with a set of minimum security measures.

In contrast to the US’ strict regulatory path, the European approach is to allow a certain degree of “freedom’, where these guidelines can be tailored and combined for the needs of different actors, given the varied market. The Agency therefore proposes a scalability of around 40 (39) security measures which are organised into three levels of sophistication and ten (10) domains:

1. Security governance & risk management

2. Third parties management

3. Secure lifecycle process for smart grid components/systems and operating procedures

4. Personnel security, awareness and training

5. Incident response & information sharing

6. Audit and accountability

7. Continuity of operations

8. Physical security

9. Information systems security

10. Network security.

The adoption of a minimum set of security measures needs the consensus and cooperation of various smart grid stakeholders. A coordination initiative could allow a common and generally accepted approach to smart grid security issues. Moreover, a common cyber security approach would help both regulators and stakeholders by harmonising the complex smart grid’s environment and by providing incentives to improve cyber security.

This report can therefore assist the EU by:

  • Aligning the varying levels of security and resilience of the market operators with a consistent minimum national framework
  • Providing an indication of minimum levels of security and resilience in the Member States with regards to the smart grids
  • Ensuring minimum levels on requirements for smart grids across Member States, thus reducing compliance and operational costs
  • Setting the baseline for a minimum auditable control framework across Europe
  • Facilitating preparedness, recovery, response measures and mutual aid of operators during crisis
  • Contributing to achieve an adequate level of transparency in the internal market.

The Executive Director of ENISA, Professor Udo Helmbrecht, commented; “In order to reach the ambitious EU2020 objectives: 20% of renewable energy, 20% of CO2 emissions reduction and 20% increase in energy efficiency, it is a key issue to ensure that the roll-out of smart grids for distributed energy generation into future electricity grid is done in a secure way. Both innovative technical solutions are required, along with new suitable EU regulatory and economic schemes. We hope to see smart grids in the forthcoming Cyber Security Strategy of the EU.”

For an interview with Professor Udo Helmbrecht check out the September issue of (IN)SECURE Magazine.

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