Plugging the Intrusion Detection Gap in the Smart Grid

As the number of malicious cyberattacks on smart utilities continue to rise, smart grid cybersecurity leaders are under immense pressure to implement intrusion detection alongside their prevention and response strategies. Not only would IDS systems deployed at key points of network vulnerability significantly reduce the severity of attacks and improve grid resilience, but they are now a key requirement of the NIS Directive. Furthermore, it is now commonly understood that a smart utility cybersecurity strategy that falls short on intrusion detection could be putting its nation at risk of black-out and its economy on the road to melt-down.

So why is it estimated that less than 5% of European smart utilities currently have intrusion detection deployed across their OT infrastructure? Could it be that the regulatory guidance is not clear enough? That the types of cyberattack being experienced do not warrant intrusion detection? Or that IDS systems are priced way beyond smart utilities’ budgetary scope?

No! The answer appears to be much simpler than that. And easy to resolve. The results of our recent research with European cybersecurity leaders reveals that smart utilities simply don’t understand the core principles of the IDS black-box and are therefore unable to convey its full benefits upwards in order to secure investment. “How do we know these systems will really work in the grid environment, if the suppliers are unwilling to explain their underlying principles and to provide tangible evidence of their effectiveness? ” asked one exasperated cybersecurity leader, and he was not alone.

This seemingly straightforward objection should be easy enough to overcome by IDS system suppliers, many of whom have a robust track record in delivering tangible results for the banking sector among others.  However, it is the age-old problem of the communication gap between suppliers and customer in the smart grid sector, that is holding up procurement and leaving 95% of European grids at risk of devastation from an ever-morphing threat landscape.

In recognition of this, Smart Grid Forums is holding a 90-minute WebConference on Thursday 18th June, at 14:00-15:30 CET, on how smart utilities can plug the intrusion detection gap by getting to grips with IDS core principles so that they can convey its benefits upwards and secure ongoing investment. It looks at how systems can be designed, tested and implemented with ease and confidence, and how the stresses and strains of running advanced AI&ML based systems on existing cybersecurity people, processes, and policies can best be managed.

During this WebConference, three leading European utilities will share the results of their IDS system assessment and discuss their next steps in implementing IDS into their broader cybersecurity infrastructure. Insights will be gained into:

  • IDS Core Concepts – turning black box thinking into detailed insights into the core concept and principles driving the effectiveness of IDS systems
  • System Design & Implementation – laying the technical groundwork to ensure the effective design and implementation of IDS systems into a broader smart grid cybersecurity strategy
  • Testing & Verification – evaluating a range of testing tools and methodologies to effectively benchmark different suppliers’ systems, accurately predict performance levels, and gain assurance of effectiveness

Following on from these utility case-studies, technical representatives of leading IDS suppliers will share their vision and plans for developing AI&ML enhanced functionalities to better support the cybersecurity needs of a more complex and dynamic smart grid.

To find out how you can participate:

Call:     +44 (0)20 8057 1700

Email:  registration@smartgrid-forums.com

Visit:    IDS Implementation WebConference 2020

 

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