According to the results of a new survey of 150 U.S. utilities, they have allocated substantial money this year to reinforce and upgrade grid security – with specific attention placed on client security appliances and software (antivirus, anti spam, and anti-malware) and intrusion prevention.
In fact, more than 75 percent of the respondents surveyed deem security investments to be of the highest importance. At the same time, 38 percent of the respondents depict security to be one of the top IT initiatives this year.
IDC Energy Insights, of Framingham, Massachusetts, has released a report based on the survey, Business Strategy: Smart Grid Security – What’s Real and What’s Hype that provides analysis of the security initiatives among North American utility companies,.
The report warns that information officers ( CIOs and CISOs) need to carefully evaluate the architecture to ensure end-to-end infrastructure safety and protection, given all the unknowns in the smart grid arena. Other findings in the report include:
More than 60 percent of the survey respondents plan investments in new security solutions, or maintaining or upgrading their existing solutions.
Planned investment in security software is particularly high, with 58 percent of respondents identifying that one area as 25 percent to 49 percent of their budget.
A majority of utility CIOs recognize that data protection will be a key issue. Some utilities already are collecting large amounts of data via their pilot programs, and they are starting to realize that, to win customers’ confidence, they have to employ protection schemes.
Many utility CIOs express concern about the lack of security standards for home area networks (HANs), which will push security vulnerabilities upstream, requiring the utility to perform ongoing vulnerability testing in multiple areas.