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Securing the Electric Grid: Agile Virtualized Substations

Date: 2/20/2023 12:00:00 AM

Increasingly considered a basic human right, economical electricity service relies upon high-availability grid infrastructure. Grid security must protect end-to-end service delivery—from generation through distribution. The goal of grid security is to make it prohibitively expensive to impact reliable operations or gather intelligence for coordinated advanced attacks. As intelligent hubs for the grid, substations are critical elements that pose unique security challenges.

Economic and evolving business demands have driven grid modernization through system digitalization, all without sacrificing overall mission-critical service availability. Substation security solutions must protect both from physical attacks to underlying infrastructure, such as switchgear and transformers, to cyber-attacks on digitized control and management operations. The security capabilities of these solutions need to adapt to developing threats, and that begins with a Software-Defined Substation Application Architecture built on a highly secure virtualization platform.

Business Drivers

  • Society’s electricity dependence is increasing while energy source ownership and control are becoming more complex
  • Evolving security regulations (e.g. FERC and NERC)
  • Federal and state clean energy mandates/funding
  • Increasing frequency and risk of both physical and cyber-attacks due to growing society dependence and economy
  • Increasing connectivity and digitalization alters attack surfaces, but dramatically improves the intelligence of grid security

Virtualization Security Benefits

  • Optimal infrastructure security from a Zero-Trust, compartmentalized, multi-layer platform
  • Offers reduced infrastructure CapEx and OpEx, while increasing security agility through automation, lifecycle management, and continuous monitoring
  • Accelerates integration of adaptive and innovative solutions for physical security and asset cybersecurity 
  • Attack and breach isolation through resource virtualization under a Zero-Trust architecture 

A virtualized substation application architecture as an agile security hub for grid distribution

Secure Substation

Key Features

  • Zero-trust, multi-layer hardware and software security
  • NERC CIP & NIST compliance
  • Edge security administration protects data ‘at the source’
  • Open ecosystem for rapid innovation
  • A scalable, centralized OT/IT edge system

Real-time, synchronized operation

Rugged, certified hardware

High availability with cost-effective, flexible redundancy

Substation Security Solution

Substation security solution

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