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IEEE working to advance smart grid security

By Max Burkhalter
November 11, 2011
Network security is emerging as a critical part of smart grid setups because the risks associated with a network breach in smart grid environments are so substantial. To help remove the security barrier to smart grid adoption, the IEEE is working to revise the Secure Authentication protocols used to govern network security in the IEEE 1815 Distributed Network Protocol standard.

The revisions being made to the IEEE 1815 standard are targeting specific areas of network development that play a key role in securing smart grid networks. The primary focus is to improve data protection in gathering and exchanging functions in such systems as supervisory control and data acquisition platforms.

To a great extent, the increased focus on the IEEE 1815 standard comes in response to the growing number of cyber attacks targeting utility providers. These threats are coming in smart grid systems along with the water, energy, power and automation sectors.

Lee Smith, chair of the IEEE 1815 working group and president of the DNP Users Group, said revising the IEEE 1815 standard comes in response to the rising number of cyber threats impacting utility providers.

"As the rate of bolder, more sophisticated cyber attacks continues to spiral upward, ensuring data integrity and security has become increasingly challenging. By necessity, preventing unauthorized intrusion into critical systems has become a top priority. By delivering robust security protocols that are attuned to both existing and emerging threats, SA Version 5 will help minimize risk while ensuring the continued efficient and safe operation of vital infrastructures," said Smith.

Judy Gorman, managing director of the IEEE-SA, explained that smart grid and other similar technologies have the potential to improve the way people around the world live. However, none of these gains can be realized unless the complementary systems that support smart grid are improved to protect data.

Deploying systems to foster widespread smart grid deployment is becoming critical for the technology's growth. According to a recent Bloomberg report, discussions at the recent 2011 Energy Smart Technologies Leadership Forum established that most utility providers are well on their way to making smart grid a reality within the next decade. However, this growth may be limited if devices to help consumers and businesses benefit from smart grid are not developed to support the advanced utility.

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.


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