Smart Grid Security – Meeting The Challenges In a European Utility

A tailored security solution was a key component of one of Europe's largest utility’s smart grid upgrade.
Published: Wed 05 Nov 2014

The risk of cyber security threats to the smart grid is a growing problem globally, and is a key issue that utilities need to address in their deployments, with a range of solutions available.

In a recent Engerati webinar, Ilan Barda, CEO of the Tel Aviv network security solution provider RADiFlow, described the implementation of a solution encompassing the secondary substations for a large European utility.. [Engerati-Israeli Cleantech - Smart solutions to global challenges]

Challenges in project design

“There were several specific requirements,” Barda said. These included:

● Ruggedness to stand up to the environment, including low temperatures and electromagnetic surges

● Able to carry all the relevant smart grid services, including both metering and automation, and CCTV as a future service

● Able to cover a large geographical area, with both cellular and landline communications

● Regulatory requirements for network security, including a separation between sub-networks serving different operational functions.

The solution that was deployed was based around the RADiFlow gateway, which connects the smart grid equipment through a layer of security to the control centre.

“In order to use a unified solution complying with the regulatory requirements, we found that we need to use several security measures including encryption of all the communication, virtual routing to separate the services, and validation at the application level to detect deviations in device behaviour.”

Alongside this a rich networking suite of communications functions was provided, including serial and Ethernet interfaces, dual SIM, etc.

Secure and compliant solution

Summarising, Barda said: “The logic for us was to provide a communication gateway which can be located at substations or other locations. It has all the communications functions. On top in the same device, it has a strong set of security features, and it is supported by a management system.

“This ensures the solution is fully compliant and secure and can be installed in remote locations in a smart grid deployment.”