Just this month, the U.S. Homeland Security Department issued an alert about “multiple vulnerabilities” in a supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) monitoring system for solar energy platforms. The department warned that unauthorized users might be able to access to the system and execute malicious code.
Unfortunately, this was not an isolated incident. As the smart grid, with all of its communications advantages, expands worldwide, utilities have begun to realize that their grids are no longer isolated or protected from attackers.
To help deal with those risks, Raleigh, North Carolina-based Tantalus Systems, a smart grid communications provider, has formed a strategic partnership with N-Dimension Solutions, a supplier of cyber security solutions for the smart grid, with headquarters in Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada.
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N-Dimension will provide Tantalus’ Tenet (the Tantalus Utility Network) communications system with the ability tomonitor suspicious activity in real time, enhancing the comprehensive security measures that already keep hackers out of the system.
“Cyber security is still one of the biggest concerns for utilities, and it’s something we take very seriously,” said Eric Murray, president and CEO of Tantalus. “N-Dimension has a strong track record of protecting against grid vulnerabilities and we look forward to offering their award-winning solution to our utility customers.”
N-Dimension will provide Tantalus with cyber security solutions that address today’s increasingly sophisticated threats while helping Tantalus’ customers meet their compliance requirements. With this new offering, Tantalus will enable utilities to monitor threats against remote field operations, AMI collection points, substations and control centers.
In fact, N-Dimension is currently assisting U.S. Department of Energy Smart Grid Investment Grant and Smart Grid Demonstration Grantwinners with their cyber security plans, cyber security assessments, and complete smart grid solutions. The company says that it “has been actively involved in the stimulus grant process from its inception,” and that N-Dimension “has been actively participating in development of industry best practices for many years, and continues to work with standards groups and NIST's Cyber Security Coordination Task Group in developing the future cyber security standards for the smart grid.”
N-Dimension’s Cyber Security Solutions include the versatile n-Platform and n-Central product lines, which provide “defense-in-depth” cyber security protection and assistance in achieving NERC Critical Infrastructure Protection (CIP) compliance.
“We are very pleased to partner with Tantalus on this important initiative,” said Doug Westlund, CEO and co-founder of N-Dimension. “Customers will receive the benefit of the advanced solutions from Tantalus with an integrated layer of comprehensive cyber security from N-Dimension.”
The newly established security monitoring solution will be available as an add-on to the TUNet communications system for both existing and prospective Tantalus customers. TUNet – the Tantalus Utility Network – is an end-to-end WAN/LAN/HAN communications system that operates with 220 MHz RF, 900 MHz, and IP-based networks including Fiber, WiMAX (News - Alert) and GPRS/cellular, either individually or in combination. The Tantalus networkunites a utility’s applications, making advanced metering, outage management, power quality monitoring, load control, and distribution automation cost-effective and practical throughout both urban and rural service areas.
Edited by Rich Steeves