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Communication Network Service Solutions

Data communications are essential to run electrical grids, transportation systems or pipeline operations, generally known as utility networks.

With the increasing trend to migrate communication infrastructure, its management and the connected applications from traditional technologies such as SDH to Ethernet / MPLS based networks there is also an increasing cyber security challenge that needs to be met.

Here are few selected questions to ask yourself about the security of your communication network:

  • Who is responsible for the security of your communication network?
  • Do you run an appropriate back-up process for configurations & NMS allowing fast restoration in a worst case scenario?
  • Do you check the authenticity of received software and firmware before applying it?
  • Are the firewalls properly configured and virus checkers updated? Is your network still working properly if GPS-services fail for whatever reasons?
  • Are the products connecting your communication network up to date?

Here’s how ABB Grid Automation Service can ensure your communication network has a smarter level of protection and that the above questions are easily answered with confidence:

Layered communication architectures ensure improved network security

ABB Grid Automation Service strongly supports the approach of implementing layered communication architectures to considerably improve the security of a network. Cyber Security measures of substation and control center communications are seamlessly extended across the overall communication infrastructure and our latest product portfolio add-ons allow secured transmission of Layer 2 & MPLS flows without tunneling time-critical services through higher layer stacks. ABB Firewalls are tailored to meet utilities requirements in terms of applications and environment and applied traffic engineering adds another layer of security to the communication system. Logical and geographical zoning further reinforces the security of the communication network and strengthens ABB’s defense in depth strategy.

Setting the standard for the industry

ABB’s Communication Network service solutions widely adapt to standardized security models, including ITU-T X.805, and often require a mix of technologies (from PLC up to latest optical transport solutions). The global domain expertise across ABB Grid Automation helps to match these specialist skill requirements with our decades of experience in the security of utility networks. Our deployment guidelines support our customers achieving the best possible technical security based on the related products features and hardening measures.

To mention just one example: Strong dependencies on GPS-services and their vulnerability in terms of availability & spoofing-attacks are mitigated step by step by new, innovative timing methods even for mission critical services like teleprotection.

Our robustness testing and authentication of software reinforces another layer of security

Cyber security and robustness testing is a prerequisite of ABB’s Type-Test philosophy. We test for robustness in all aspects including environmental, electromagnetic compatibility, mechanics. Security aspects are tested by a dedicated Device Security Assurance Center (DSAC).

psI am Paul Schwyter

Product Manager for Cyber security within ABB Communication Networks.
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