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Smart grid cyber security market to continue to grow, report finds

SUBNET Solutions Inc | Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Although there has been some talk that cyber security legislation will all but die out in the near future, a new report shows that the smart grid security market will not reflect this sentiment, and will likely see huge growth in the coming decade.

According to Channelnomics, a stronger cyber security market would benefit both utilities and consumers, as it would ensure the U.S. government and North American utilities would remain at the forefront of protection. A new suvey from ReportsnReports shows that the smart grid cyber security market is expected to climb from about $7.8 billion in 2011 to as much as 79 billion in 2020. The global market, with the exception of China, could grow at a CAGR of 21 percent in that same period. Including China, the growth rate will be closer to 40 percent.

The huge growth in the market will stem from more improvements in the smart grid in the next 10 years. This mass adoption will come as utilities look to install devices that can improve energy efficiency, cost-effectiveness and ease of implementation and management.

A recent Pike Research report found that analysts may look back on 2012 and declare it a year that was a turning point for the smart grid, when many grid operators were forced to improve their operational and financial value.

However, this proliferation of smart grid technology will also come at the cost of less security. With more utility assets connected to the internet or other easily accessible communication platforms, there will be a huge number of access points and vulnerabilities through which malware could enter - whether it is intentional or accidental.

This grave threat prompted the introduction Cyber Security Act of 2012, which contained measures that would encourage the development of standards that would protect critical infrastructure - including water supply, the electrical grid and power facilities -  from crippling attacks that could lead to widespread blackouts.

Although the bill died out last week, there are still a number of federal standards that have been created to help protect the nation's critical infrastructure. The North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC), under the guidance of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), has developed its strict NERC CIP standards for utilities to follow.

SUBNET's NERC CIP solutions help utilities maintain strong cyber security standards across their enterprise and substations by leveraging existing IT assets, rather than performing costly hardware upgrades.

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