Wednesday, May 28, 2014
How will the IoT trend play out in the utilities sector?
The Internet of Things is a relatively new trend that has rapidly made its way across a variety of industries and regions, while it is generally defined as the massive proliferation of devices that can connect to and are powered by the World Wide Web. Industrial organizations have been at the forefront of this trend since before it had a name, as the potential applications of always-connected devices in manufacturing and utilities management is a significant competitive differentiator for those in the relevant fields.
However, public sector officials have seemed to increase the stringency of their regulations related to smart grids and other types of movements that can easily fall into the IoT conversation. Those overseeing console management, terminal servers and other pieces of equipment that will be used to control and maintain a smart grid must ensure that they are following the standing and forthcoming regulations that cover their activities.
William Cook and Janet Peyton of McGuireWoods LLP recently described some of the legislative matters that have impacted the smart grid industry in the United States, stating that the Federal Trade Commission first got involved in IoT-related oversight only a year ago. When speaking about regulations and compliance oversight, the most common aspect that needs to be covered is liability management.
According to the authors, one trial between the FTC and a device manufacturer that developed security cameras led to sanctions of that firm because of a major security breach. Likewise, the source pointed out that a trial between a bank and a construction company regarding the breach of financial information and subsequent fraudulent activities fell in the favor of the victim.
Now, you might ask how does this relate to smart grids? Cook and Peyton explained that smart grids fall into these same types of regulatory frameworks in which liability is incurred when the proper security controls are not in place. Because of how integrated and connected the utilities sector has become, maintaining protection is not a simple task, but one that can be completed with the support of helpful solutions.
Perle offers a range of cost effective serial-to-Ethernet converters to help meet NERC-CIP compliance for the protection of critical cyberassets in substations. The IOLAN SDS HV/LDC Terminal Server is designed to meet harsh environments associated with Power Substations with attributes such as support for substation AC and DC voltage ranges, extended operating temperatures and meeting emission, immunity and safety approvals associated with substation IT equipment.