N-Dimension has announced the completion of a cybersecurity project sponsored by the Ontario Ministry of Energy and funded in part through the Ontario Smart Grid Fund initiative.
The project focused on the development, evaluation and commercialization of cybersecurity technology integration into distributed smart grid field applications. The goals were to improve the reliability of power delivery and ensure the integrity of utility and power customer data in Ontario. For validation, a demonstration of the cybersecurity technology was integrated into Burlington Hydro’s smart meter network.
“Distributed security for our intelligent field devices makes sense, protecting both utility operations as well as customers,” said Dan Lowry, CIO, Burlington Hydro. “N-Dimension continuous threat detection and monitoring technology proved to be an effective component in developing a defense-in-depth security strategy."
“The province of Ontario continues to be a recognized pioneer in smart grid technology deployments,” said Bob Chiarelli, Minister of Energy, Ontario. “We are pleased with the results of this project – they validate an important cybersecurity technology at the distribution level and contribute to reducing risk for utilities and their customers.”
N-Dimension has successfully commercialized the technology developed as part of the Ontario Smart Grid Fund project with its N-Sentinel Monitoring, a continuous threat monitoring service released earlier this year. N-Sentinel intelligently analyzes and reduces threat alert data, eliminating the time consuming process for IT to analyze hundreds or thousands of log files. By quickly pinpointing the threat and source, IT can take timely action to remediate problems.
N-Dimension strongly leveraged its extensive background in security penetration testing and assessment services and its utility operations experience to create innovative cybersecurity threat monitoring and protection technology. In addition to continuously identifying threats and generating alerts, N-Dimension aggregates the data and intelligently classifies it and identifies the threat source and system(s) affected. By logically reducing the large amounts of data, the time consuming process for IT to analyze hundreds or thousands of log files is eliminated.
A requirement of the project included a demonstration of the cybersecurity technology integrated into a participating utility’s operational smart meter network. To meet this requirement, N-Dimension integrated the continuous threat monitoring technology into Elster Solutions’ EnergyAxis Gatekeeper, complementing Elster’s existing state of the art security. The Elster Gatekeepers serve as WAN access points for the Elster power meters 900 MHz local area mesh network. By distributing cybersecurity monitoring close to the edge of the network, threats are detected before they can spread to other parts of the utility network and systems. The N-Dimension security-enabled Gatekeepers were deployed at Burlington Hydro Inc., a power distribution service company serving approximately 66,700 residential and commercials customers in the City of Burlington.
“The Ontario Smart Grid Fund helped to accelerate our cybersecurity technology research and development efforts,” said Tom Ayers, CEO, N-Dimension. “It was a huge advantage to be able to work with Burlington Hydro to validate the technology and gain their feedback and insights as part of this effort.”