Digital security needs to keep pace with the rapid digitalization if electric utilities aspire for resilience and reliability.
FREMONT, CA:Electric utilities finally seem to be making a move towards the future by adopting advanced technologies and tools. These new adoptions, however, can add to vulnerabilities if proper measures are not taken from the outset. Thus, for progressive electric utilities, it is essential to balance out digitalization with digital security. Cybersecurity has emerged as a pain point for several electric utility companies in recent times. Electricity companies across the world have already documented a significant number of attacks. Not only do these attacks result in losses running into millions, but these also cripple critical industries and cities which have today become dependent on the grids.
In preventing digital threats from shadowing the modern capabilities that digitalized electric facilities possess, comprehensive steps need to be taken. From social engineering wherein stakeholders are manipulated into divulging sensitive information, to hacking into operational systems, cyber-attacks have taken numerous forms. Each of these attacks displays extensive levels of sophistication, making it particularly difficult for electric utilities to guard themselves. However, with concerted efforts, electric utilities can develop immunity against the risks that have threatened the reliability of electricity supply.
Data-backed risk management strategies, laced with real-time monitoring, and risk-identification capabilities, can render any electric utility company powerful enough to resist cyber-attacks. What electric utilities need is a comprehensive outlook and expertise in cyber-defense. Be it internal equipment or distribution grids and field devices, electric utilities should look to automate certain aspects of risk management. With technologies like artificial intelligence advancing rapidly, electric companies have the opportunity to develop algorithm-backed systems to mitigate cyber threats.
Integrating security protocols into the hardware is also feasible these days. By customizing flexible solutions that can respond to evolving threats, utility companies can future-proof infrastructure for years to come. Adopting a security-first approach, both while retrofitting legacy facilities, and while constructing new ones, can help make digital security in electric utilities as advanced as the operational infrastructure.