Recapping AWEA’s 2019 Cybersecurity Panel
- June 4, 2019
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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.