Thursday, January 31, 2013

Electric Sector Security Observations from Distributech 2013

The show is over for me as I'm up in LA for some IBM training, but it was a very good 2 days. Here's a few of the highlights I took away:

  • Saw a great new product with immediate applicability to AMI (and other wireless network) security with crossover applications in restoration, routing and reliability
  • Patrica Hoffman, DOE's Assistant Secretary for the Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability (OE), following great, largely renewable-energy oriented keynotes from senior executives at SDG&E and Cal ISO, gave her perspective on the world and beat a drum loudly for improved cybersecurity awareness and action towards the end of her talk
  • Speaking of DOE, after visiting several security vendor booths found a remote outpost DOE cybersecurity booth in the far corner of the big hall. Those folks seemed glad to have any human contact :)
  • One industry security guru whose knowledge I implicitly trust said he would like to see a greater emphasis on security architectures this year. Too many point products are being bought and strung together with little consideration for the bigger, enterprise protection picture. And that's a recipe for weakness and inefficiency, and for the folks recommending or doing the buying, a formula for losing credibility and trust
  • I couldn't make the conference's security focus panel but if someone did and has some impressions to share, please do and I'll post them here.
  • Lastly, from my extended family at IBM flown in from all over the world, definitely detecting heightened security awareness and interest from utilities that until recently weren't all that active.
For those still in town and/or next time you're in town, highly recommend the new Blind Burro restaurant ... ate their twice and it's fantastic. So far, scores a ridiculously high 4.5 our of 5 stars on Yelp. Mmmm tasty.

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