This special interest group is where you can bring thoughts and ideas on renewable energy. 

40,467 Members

Post

Recapping AWEA’s 2019 Cybersecurity Panel

Pexels.com

Recently I had the pleasure of serving on the panel discussion for cybersecurity challenges at American Wind Energy Association’s (AWEA) 2019 Windpower conference in Houston. Notable as the first time cybersecurity has been featured at an AWEA conference, the panel event created a great opportunity for attendees to learn more about asset security.

With a keynote opening from Tim Conway, well-known in the industrial control security space for his work with SANS, NERC and the Department of Energy, panelists offered valuable perspectives and expertise from across the industry –  from equipment manufacturers and standards bodies, to utilities and consulting engineering firms.

My contribution to the discussion focused on operational security and the critical need to perform these tasks consistently well. Below are my top takeaways:

  • Match Growth to Security. Many wind operators have good security plans and procedures, but the fast pace of growth for wind generation and the integration of many different service providers and sub-contractors provides an all too fertile environment for compromised access controls to SCADA systems and inconsistent configuration management performance.
  • Assess and Manage Needs. Taking the time to perform post-commissioning inspections and testing will catch many of these issues and improve the overall security posture of the entire organization. I applaud the manufacturers who recognize the need for good interfaces in security management tools and support for various industry standards in communications and security.
  • Stay Engaged. Although the prioritization of cybersecurity often begins as reactive rather than proactive across affected industries, I still would have expected more attendees at this discussion. Regardless, the panelists and coordinators did an excellent job discussing cyber security issues for the industry and I am hopeful there will be another opportunity for a cybersecurity session at the next AWEA conference in 2020.
Jeff Pack's picture

Thank Jeff for the Post!

Energy Central contributors share their experience and insights for the benefit of other Members (like you). Please show them your appreciation by leaving a comment, 'liking' this post, or following this Member.

Discussions

Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on June 4, 2019

Thanks for the wrap up for those of us who unfortunately couldn't attend in person. It sounds like it was a productive panel.

One question for you: 

 Although the prioritization of cybersecurity often begins as reactive rather than proactive across affected industries, I still would have expected more attendees at this discussion. Regardless, the panelists and coordinators did an excellent job discussing cyber security issues for the industry and I am hopeful there will be another opportunity for a cybersecurity session at the next AWEA conference in 2020.

How would you suggest industry professionals best stay engaged-- is it at conferences like these? Are there must-read sources to keep up with? How can busy members of the industry be sure they're staying on top of what they need to know?

Jeff Pack's picture
Jeff Pack on June 6, 2019

Thanks for the question, Matt. The right conference can offer attendees a great way to stay engaged in dialog and perspective. Just last March, FERC and DOE put on their first Energy Infrastructure Technical Conference, and some remaining 2019 conferences to consider might include PACWorld or CIGRE Grid of the Future.

To stay up to date on current events and issues, below are some solid resources:

https://www.us-cert.gov/ncas

https://www.nerc.com/news/Pages/default.aspx

And specific to Advisories in the Control Systems realm is https://ics-cert.us-cert.gov/advisories

 

Get Published - Build a Following

The Energy Central Power Industry Network is based on one core idea - power industry professionals helping each other and advancing the industry by sharing and learning from each other.

If you have an experience or insight to share or have learned something from a conference or seminar, your peers and colleagues on Energy Central want to hear about it. It's also easy to share a link to an article you've liked or an industry resource that you think would be helpful.

                 Learn more about posting on Energy Central »