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SUBNET's solutions help utilities to streamline business operations, cut costs

SUBNET Solutions Inc | Thursday, June 09, 2011

Utilities in the U.S. must adhere to an exceedingly complex and ever-changing array of protocols and data formats that ultimately result in a lack of interoperability in utility business systems and processes. SUBNET's IED Management Solution can address the challenges utilities face by providing a seamlessly integrated access and password management system.

Historically, electric utility systems and processes have provided some of the highest levels of reliability and security in the world. They have introduced innovative technology, cultivated power supply networks and have protected it from being infiltrated. Still, the continued investment into critical infrastructure has spurred a new wave of interoperability challenges.

The resulting lack of communication among various systems has made it increasingly difficult for utilities to remotely access and manage substation information and comply with Critical Infrastructure Protection (CIP) regulations from the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC).

The quandary, then, that utilities face is how they can go about improving the reliability and inter-connectivity of their remote access and password management systems, while still complying with smart grid cyber security laws.

The key business features of an electric utility are the major grid assets, Intelligent Electronic Devices (IEDs), substation servers, telecommunication networks, the SCADA system, business systems and utility personnel. Each of these plays a critical role in the flow of electricity, and rapid technological advancements have contributed to the development of the smart grid.

SUBNET is an industry leader in its understanding and implementation of smart grid technologies, and it counts some of the biggest utilities in North America as valued customers. SUBNET's solutions enable utilities to synergize the many components in the production and transmission of electricity.

Unfortunately, the lack of communication among the key business features of electric utilities result from a glut of proprietary and supplier specific protocols.

SUBNET's PowerSYSTEM Center allows for utilities to seamlessly control access to IEDs - both local and remote. This helps utilities to improve efficiency and more proactively control operational, maintenance and asset management tasks. What's more, the PowerSYSTEM Center eliminates the need for personnel to know the process, procedure or parameters to access the devices because it automatically connects to IEDs, improving employee performance.

Many utilities that use the PowerSYSTEM Center assert that it is easy to use, with many of the people accessing the system having little knowledge of IT systems. Its out-of-the-box reporting also gives managers the ability to see who accessed which IEDs and when, what changes were made and a host of other important indicators.

Industry analysts and utilities alike affirm that the PowerSYSTEM Center can help utilities to cut costs and prevent malware on unauthenticated user's computer from infiltrating a substation system. It also supports a range of connection types from dial-up to Ethernet.

With the ever-increasing number of power outages and disruptions to the power supply network, now more than ever consumers demand that their power service providers quickly identify and patch any problems. The PowerSYSTEM Center allows for such fixes and facilitates the repair of remote substation equipment problems. 

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The Complexities of Substation Cyber Security

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