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Industrial control systems cyber security to grow to $600 million

SUBNET Solutions Inc | Friday, December 07, 2012

Industrial control systems (ICS) in the smart grid are currently in a transitory state, with many utilities still seeing cyber security as an option, not a necessity, and one that brings on huge additional costs, at that.

This belief has led many power companies to take their time in integrating ICS, and regulations that would help drive cyber security improvements are currently lacking. However, according to a new report from Pike Research, when viewed as a whole, the utilities industry appears to be starting to make the gradual shift toward better cyber security functions.

Utilities are also understanding that new technologies like substation automation must be protected from cyber threats. Together, this will lead to more cyber security deployments in the next two years, the report found.

These deployments will result in the ICS cyber security market reaching a value of $369 million in 2012, and by 2020, it will have a value of $608 million.

"The shallow growth curve for ICS cyber security through the remainder of the decade reflects utilities’ historically measured approach to technology upgrades—the focus on reliability trumps any abrupt shift to the next great thing," said senior Pike Research analyst Bob Lockhart. "Despite the improved awareness of potential threats and risks, many utilities remain reluctant to allocate security funding beyond that needed for compliance minimums.  That will change as the technology improves, prices go down, and the cost of complacency becomes more apparent."

The report did note that technological innovation in the market appears to have hit an impasse compared to recent years, and security vendors have widely varying views on the direction the market will take. Some vendors say they are still waiting for the growth that was expected years ago, while others active in the control systems security segment have received "more requests for proposals than ever."

Vendors also see the market from two vantage points, with some saying companies should strategically implement a broad cyber security solution for their entire enterprise, and others claiming a more acute, tactical approach should be used to solve every individual issue.

SUBNET, a Microsoft Gold Certified partner, works with the operating system giant to ensure that all devices and software are regularly updated with the most recent patches, taking a proactive stance against cyber threats. Such a tactic has proven to work better than a reactive approach, in which solutions are only released after the damage has been done. 

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The Complexities of Substation Cyber Security

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