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Five questions to ask yourself about the security of your substation automation system

Connected automation systems are making utilities and industry more efficient, more productive, and more economic, but they are also introducing new challenges to those organizations.

Here are five questions to ask yourself about your own cyber security policies:-

  • Do you have a recent back-up of your substation automation system?
  • Is your substation automation system protected against malware?
  • Is the firewall proper configured?
  • Is your substation automation system up to date?
  • Who is regularly assessing and monitoring your system?

Here’s five ways ABB Network Management Service team can assist you to answer these questions in the future. 

1. Back-up and recovery

If the worst does happen, and cyber-attack or natural disaster strikes, then the security of an off-site back-up will make recovery that much easier. ABB’s back-up solutions can ensure the integrity, and availability, of critical data, no matter what happens to the original.

2. Malware protection

Our substation automation systems can be equipped with industry-standard malware and intrusion protection solutions, like anti-virus protection and application whitelisting.

3. Perimeter protection

Firewalls can protect the perimeter of a network and a well-designed security policy will separate the network into distinct, controlled zones, protected by internal firewalls to ensure that a compromised server doesn’t mean compromising the entire network.

4. Security updates and hardening

It’s not just the anti-virus software that needs updating, modern operating systems and embedded software often need to be patched to defend against emerging threats. Efficient patch management is an essential part of any security policy, but one that is often neglected.

5. Security Assessment and monitoring

Assessment and monitoring services for system software, system hardware and communication networks are fundamental in order to keep a system constantly secure. Overseeing the cyber security status of your system, ABB's collects system data for comparison against industry best practices and standards to detect weaknesses within your system’s defense. This pinpoints areas that require action to help protect your system by ensuring it has multiple layers of security. 

Who’s your substation automation system cyber security partner?

Any system, no matter how many precautions are taken, can be compromised. For best results and a consistent security level, several components, such as patch management and virus protection, should be applied and regularly updated.

Cyber Security will always be a challenge on a global scale. No single solution can keep increasingly interconnected systems secure, so ABB works with customers to create a defense-in-depth approach where multiple security layers detect and deter threats – if, where and when they may arise. By investing in ABB technologies, you can be sure that reliability and security of your systems have been given the highest priority. ABB’s cyber security care package helps you to mitigate the risk and potential impact of a cyber-attack.

Frank Hohlbaum

Today I am a Product Manager for Cyber security within ABB Substation Automation, but I’ve spent 20 years at ABB working across R&D and Product Management within Substation Automation. I’m passionate about developing cyber security awareness and simple-to-understand processes and programs that ensure our customers have a smarter system protection.
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