The collection of data from devices and sensors is merging with information from maintenance and operation systems. This is creating a whole new layer of information which is essential to the effective operation of utility businesses today. As technology becomes more complex, more security is needed to safeguard people, processes and assets. Security measures are needed on the cyber side and physical side (video surveillance, license plate recognition, and access control for example). Threats need to be assessed and solutions provided to avoid security and safety issues.
While safety and security technology is critical, it is often seen as a financial burden. However, security technology offers a return of investment. It can be used for “cyber” maintenance which will lower the number of field visits, thus saving the utility business a lot of time and money. The technology can also help the utility to react faster to security and safety problems which can be planned for or avoided altogether since the technology can help to predict issues in advance. This will improve efficiency levels and awareness of potential problems. In addition to this, costly assets and people are kept safe from harm.
In order to share data more effectively within the utility, silos should be broken down. This process will benefit all departments as they begin to work together. This integration is not just a technical issue however; it poses behavioral and cultural challenges which need to be overcome. It is critical that the benefits of this integration are communicated as it will have a major impact on operational efficiencies.