Nexight Group helped design and facilitate two workshops that shared critical cyber security information and best practices with utilities who are rapidly deploying advanced smart grid technologies across the U.S. electric grid.
New smart grid technologies and systems promise improved grid reliability and disruption response; but they also exponentially increase digital access points to the grid and introduce new cyber risks. Smart grid early adopters—like those utilities who are cost-sharing smart grid investments using DOE Recovery Act grants—must work with state-of-the-art cyber security tools and practices as they deploy new technologies. But connecting utilities with available tools and resources can be an outreach challenge.
Nexight Group worked with OE and a team of contractors to design a two-day workshop that put smart grid grant recipients face-to-face with cyber security experts and their utility peers. In August 2011, we facilitated the first Cybersecurity Information Exchange to foster direct peer-to-peer sharing and enable cyber security experts to link utilities with tools and best practices to better secure their systems. Nexight’s facilitation plan included expert presentations, panel discussions, and 10 facilitated breakout group topics over two days to:
- Identify the critical and persistent cyber security challenges utilities face as they deploy new smart grid technologies
- Prioritize gaps and needs for DOE to address
- Directly share lessons lessons learned and best practices from implementing required cyber security plans
The Resource Guide was used widely by smart grid grant recipients to access new resources and improve their cyber security practices. The workshops also helped build the relationships that enable direct peer-to-peer information sharing outside of organized events.