Tuesday, June 29, 2010

2 Smart Grid Security Conferences and another Pike Report Signal Robust Interest in Smart Grid Security

Colorado-based Pike Research has said it again: Smart Grid security is (and will continue to be) very big business. How big you ask?  CNET's cites Pike's just released report saying that in the next five years "about 15 percent of all smart grid investments will be spent on cybersecurity. This will represent a total global investment of $21 billion." Those are substantial numbers by any standard, and dwarf the recent US Federal stimulus infusion of $3.4 billion also known as the Smart Grid Investment Grant (SGIG) program.

Now, in case you haven't noticed, there are about a million multi-day Smart Grid conferences going on around the globe at any one point in time. But there aren't as many, or actually hardly any, that focus on the security aspects of this grand enterprise.

It was probably just a coincidence, but last week's market size announcement by Pike certainly sets the stage for two important, and very different conferences on this topic.

First, there's the first Smart Grid Cyber Security Summit. It's being held on Aug 10 -11 in San Jose. A great speaker line-up so far, including many folks we've had the pleasure of talking - and sometimes working - with. Looks like AMI, HAN and Smart Meter systems are going to get a fair bit of coverage, though control systems will get their due during Joe Weiss' presentation.

And speaking of Joe, about one month later, on September 20-23, there's the ten year-running Industrial Control Systems Cyber Security Conference that will be held, as usual, in the DC area (conference web site not yet operative and venue currently TBA). It's a deep and focused drill down on an often overlooked but nevertheless crucial aspect of the overall Smart Grid security problem set. To get a feel for what it's going to be like, look no further than last year's agenda, here.

Utilities security professionals are always seeking clear and credible industry fodder to establish more compelling business cases for security investments. Surely the Pike report, as well as the conferences in August and September, are a good place to start.

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