National Rural Electric Cooperative Association outlines cybersecurity strategies

Published on August 17, 2017 by Kevin Randolph

In a recent release, the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) outlined strategies used
by electric cooperatives to prevent and mitigate cyber threats.

The power sector has implemented security standards and technology, worked collaboratively and sharing information about threats and vulnerabilities to prevent cyberattacks, NRECA said.

The release highlighted several tools and technologies used by electric co-ops to protect against cyber threats. The Electricity Sector Cybersecurity Capability Maturity Model, the NRECA noted, was developed by the Department of Energy (DOE) to provide a framework to utilities for self-assessment of their cybersecurity plans and procedures.

NRECA has developed a guide to help co-ops improve their security while integrating new technologies into the grid. The organization also leads the Rural Cooperative Cybersecurity Capabilities Program, which assists small- and mid-sized co-ops in developing cybersecurity and resiliency programs.

It also cited Essence, a technology for monitoring utility network traffic and detecting potential security breaches. Another technology project, Simba, is working to increase the speed at which data can be processed in order to allow utilizes to more quickly detect threats.

The cooperative association also highlighted industry and government collaborations aimed at improving cybersecurity including the North American Electric Reliability Corporation’s (NERC) electric reliability and cybersecurity standards. It also discussed the Electric Sector Coordinating Council, which enables NRECA and other organizations to work with government on policy-level efforts related to reliability and security.