Tdworld 3200 Bigdata

Central Florida Electric Cooperative to Implement Cybersecurity Monitoring

Aug. 27, 2015
N-Sentinel Identifies Cybersecurity Issues Missed by Other Devices

Central Florida Electric Cooperative is using N-Sentinel Software as a Service (SaaS) solution. N-Sentinel delivers comprehensive cybersecurity monitoring, real-time alerts and threat information via in-depth reports, providing customers with visibility and specific information in an easy to understand format that enables them to take timely action to improve their security posture. In addition, N-Sentinel uniquely provides utility community cyber threat insights that gives visibility into security threats affecting other utilities, enabling timely proactive steps to be taken to protect their network, data and assets.

CFEC provides electric service to more than 32,000 customers across six less populated counties in north central Florida. It is a community focused, not-for-profit organization, which strives to offer affordable and reliable power as well as high quality service to its customers. CFEC’s Information Services Manager, George Buckner, identified cybersecurity as one of the essential building blocks they needed to ensure the utility continues to meet its goals. He realized that he needed more insight into cyber threats and guidance on what actions to take.

“As a result of having N-Sentinel in our network I feel like we have a granular filter to identify potential cyber threats plus provide us with specific guidance on what actions for our IT team to take to improve our security,” said Bucker. “We have learned that threat data is just that unless you turn it into something you can use to take action.”

CFEC had already installed a Unified Threat Management (UTM) device to monitor outbound network traffic for potential security threats. IT found that the alerts and logs from the UTM provided a lot of data, making it extremely time consuming to analyze it. As a result, IT was not able to review the data and determine actions to take to improve their security posture in a timely manner, reducing its value to the utility.

N-Sentinel was installed at CFEC to augment the UTM and monitor the utility’s network traffic around the network perimeter and inside the network. The benefits CFEC has seen with N-Sentinel are twofold. First, N-Sentinel provided 24 x 7 monitoring and its alerts identified the cyber threats detected by the perimeter UTM device. In addition, N-Sentinel provided a large amount of information that allowed CFEC to identify configuration issues that the UTM missed inside their network.

Oftentimes threats find a way to penetrate the network using legitimate communications channels - something that is difficult for some security devices to detect. These threats can then exploit configuration issues to further their foothold within the network. Further penetration into the network can then go unnoticed because the breach bypasses the initial security gate. N-Sentinel not only monitors internal traffic for attack patterns, but also gives the utility insight into the nature of the communications in their network – including communications that are being made via insecure or vulnerable protocols. This type of advanced warning into vulnerabilities can enable the utility to take action to avoid the risk of threats.

Secondly, an integral part of N-Sentinel is a combination of cloud-based intelligent threat analysis and in-depth actionable threat reports. In addition to identifying and classifying security alerts, N-Sentinel provided CFEC with detailed analysis of the cybersecurity issues and systems affected. N-Sentinel reports offered recommendations on actions the utility could take to reduce the risks. Access to N-Sentinel cybersecurity experts provided CFEC IT with additional support and expertise to help them improve their security posture.

“Cyber threats and protecting against them requires ongoing vigilance,” said Tom Ayers, CEO N-Dimension. “N-Sentinel provides the continuous threat monitoring, in-depth data and analysis by security experts that enables utilities to take timely action to improve their security posture. We help utilities make sense of security data so they can take a proactive stance against cyber threats.”

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