Building Security into the SmartGrid
Bryan Casey 270003BSJV BFCASEY@US.IBM.COM | | Tags:  ibm smartgrid grid ibmsecurity security energy utilities
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Today, we're pleased to announce the IBM Security Solutions Launchpad for Energy and Utilities.
When we think about how the planet is evolving to become smarter, one of the most interesting places where we're seeing a lot of change is in energy and utilities and the SmartGrid. As a result of advancements in things like solar power, we aren't just taking power out of the grid, we're now putting energy back into the grid. We're investing in things like Smart Meters to help increase efficiency and we're doing more every day to make sure that less power is lost between power plant and light bulb. However, being able to confidently leverage all of the new advancements in grid technology means we are also going to need to understand more about the new challenges we face.
We are taking on new projects to increase the efficiency of the grid, and replace an aging and legacy infrastructure, because the grid's fundamental architecture hasn't changed much since its original conception. So, when we talk about solar panels adding power back into the grid, how do we make sure that these older systems are ready to take on these new inputs? The connected nature of the grid also raises significant concerns around the impact that would be incurred by a widespread attack against critical infrastructure. Stuxnet was targeted at industrial command and control systems. If people previously thought these types of attacks didn't, or couldn't exist, they don't think like that any longer.
As Jack Danahy mentions in the below video, when we introduce new technology, we also introduce new risks. That's a fact and it's not limited to just security. When we invented cars we also introduced the risk that people could be in a car accident. However, the benefit of cars was too great so we kept moving forward with automobile production, and as the market matured, and we covered some of the initial bases, like how to make sure the wheels don't fall off, we increasingly turned our focus to the safety of automobiles. Being able to protect people in the event of a crash became one of the most important features. We need to apply this same principle to new technologies, particularly when it comes to energy and utilities. Security needs to become an innovative aspect of the overall design. However, unlike automobiles, we don't release a new smart grid every year. We're building on the one we have and making it work better.
The launchpad we're announcing today features an overview of the issues, expert opinions and testimonials, as well as some demos and links to additional resources. For those of you interested in learning more about security for the SmartGrid, I encourage you to take a look at some of this content. You can find the demo by clicking here.