Safe smart grid design Ray Bell, CEO, Grid Net
n May, President Obama cited smart grid security as one The next step is to use only standards-based security – every-
reason for creating a new White House cybersecurity coordi- where. By incorporating security standards into the smart grid,
nator position. In addition to a lack of encryption or authen- utilities can leverage the collective best efforts of thousands of
tication processes, the majority of smart grid mesh networks engineers and millions of dollars of investments in the latest
present critical vulnerabilities in performance, management and protections. Moreover, standards-based security ensures faster,
especially security. Lacking open standards, mesh networks are simpler upgrades and “future-prooﬁng.”
not yet ready for wide-scale installation in the smart grid. And ﬁnally, it’s essential to make security pervasive. Only
Security needs to be designed into every aspect of the smart a multi-layer, multi-level security architecture will provide
grid and support all of the government’s cybersecurity prin- adequate safeguards in the smart grid. Utilities need to archi-
ciples: conﬁdentiality, integrity, availability, identiﬁcation, tect government-grade security into meters and other devices,
authentication, access control, non-repudiation, access controls into the smart grid network, into smart grid software operating
and auditing/accounting. To adequately do this, utilities need to systems and applications, into the data being transmitted, and
take a three pronged approach in designing the smart grid. into utility enterprise systems.
First, take security “granular” to prevent an attack from It’s time for utilities and their vendors to stop talking about
spreading throughout the smart grid network. Network hacks security and to start building it into every aspect of the smart grid.
are a fact of life, but utilities can protect their smart grids with Done right with the right holistic approach, the smart grid will
the right security architecture, which requires unique, stan- allow utilities to make the leap to IP-networks to enable real-time,
dards-based security built into every network node and device. two-way energy usage monitoring and information sharing.
Avoiding the data doghouse
Jonathan McCormick, chief operating ofﬁcer, constitute a net loss of one hour’s worth of data.
Intermedia Each SaaS provider will likely have various
rom IT professionals and CIOs to sma