The utility industry's ongoing adoption of smart grid digital technology is bringing many conservation and cost-saving benefits, and with them some unprecedented cyber security threats. To help electric utilities meet these evolving challenges and opportunities, Verizon Business has unveiled a new suite of professional consulting services.
The North American Electric Reliability Corp. has established critical infrastructure protection standards for the nation's bulk energy system. Verizon is offering compliance and readiness assessments to help utilities meet the 2010 NERC CIP requirement to be Auditably Compliant (AC) - the highest level of compliance - subject to spot checks and audits.
"Smart grids require savvy professionals to protect these digital networks from cyber threats," said Rilck Noel, vice president and managing director for Verizon Business' global energy and utility practice. "As the power industry employs more Internet protocol (IP)-based controls and machine-to-machine communications to monitor and control power generation, transmission and distribution, we can apply our security, IT and IP communications expertise to help accelerate the adoption of smart grids."
The new consulting services join Verizon Business' existing portfolio of managed security services and professional security services that help utilities identify and mitigate risks to critical cyber assets, including data, applications, IT systems and networks. Under Verizon's security management program (SMP), experts assess and analyze an organization's security practices and procedures.
Verizon Business takes a 360-degree approach to security. This covers the Verizon network, or cloud; across the edges of the network, where applications are handed off to a customer's premises; as well as the devices connected to a customer's network. Using ISO 27002 controls, SMP can assess security at key layers of an extended utility enterprise including employees, customers, partners and suppliers.