EU Outlines its Smart Grid Security

Thursday, December 20, 2012 @ 12:12 PM gHale

The European Union wants to collectively use 20 percent renewable energy, reduce CO2 emissions by 20 percent, and increase energy efficiency by 20 percent all by 2020.

To accomplish these goals, Europe will need to perform a major overhaul to its power grid, which will play a vital role in getting to this new energy level.

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As Europe’s energy economy strongly interconnects through the smart grid, security will come to the forefront to ensure the grid remains locked down against external attacks and internal mishaps. That is exactly what the 84-page, “Appropriate security measures for smart grids: Guidelines to assess the sophistication of security measures implementation” intends to do.

The European Network and Information Security Agency (ENISA) produced the report that focuses on making sure smart grid technology is integrated into EU energy systems as safely, securely, and reliably as possible.

ENISA wants to provide a regulatory framework to member states and smart grid stakeholders that establishes bottom-line standards for systems security and resilience, ensure everyone sticks to those frameworks so weak links don’t emerge, demand a level of harmonization and compatibility between various stakeholders and member states to keep costs down, create audit guidelines to measure these standards, and, eventually increase the level of transparency within Europe’s energy market.

Smart grids are “electricity networks that can efficiently integrate the behavior and actions of all users connected to it — generators, consumers and those that do both — in order to ensure an economically efficient, sustainable power system with low losses and high levels of quality and security of supply,” according to the European Smart Grid Task Force.

ENISA’s proposed security measurements look to improve the minimal level of security across the EU energy ecosystem. ENISA targets 10 separate domains that further partition into three levels of sophistication.

The domains are as follows: Security governance & risk management, management of third parties, secure lifecycle process for smart grid components/systems and operating procedures, personnel security, awareness and training, incident response & information knowledge sharing, audit and accountability, continuity of operations, physical security, information systems security, and network security.

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