T&D World Magazine

Platte River Power Authority Selects CipherOptics to Protect DCS Network

Platte River Power Authority is protecting its Digital Control System (DCS) information with the CipherOptics CEP line of standards-based encryptors and CipherEngine, a scalable policy and key management solution for network encryption.

Platte River Power Authority provides wholesale electric power to four municipal electric systems in northern Colorado. As a utility provider, it is subject to many regulations, including the NERC Reliability Standards. With a looming NERC compliance deadline, Platte River Power Authority needed to encrypt its DCS information between the human-machine interfaces (HMI) and various control systems.

“We needed a solution that operated natively to Layer 2 because our control systems do not support routing” said Paul Crosby, CIP Compliance Officer, Platte River Power Authority. “The CipherOptics solution inserted seamlessly into our existing infrastructure without impacting the operation or performance of our DCS.”

The approaching deadline meant that Platte River Power Authority also needed a solution that could be installed quickly and easily. “The solution was so easy to install that one of our electrical engineering interns did it,” added Crosby.

The CEP line of encryptors offers 10 Mbps to 1 Gbps wire-speed encryption for any Ethernet or MPLS network, with 10 Gbps available in late 2010. CipherEngine, a policy and key management solution, makes it easy to deploy and manage network encryption, regardless of scale or network infrastructure.

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