Monday, April 25, 2011

Smart Grid: Good or Bad Idea?

With a hat tip to Ollie Fritz of OSD, here's the fundamental question we security folk caught up in grid modernization activities can't help but ponder:
Are we helping or hurting our nation's overall security posture?
If you persist and continue on to this recent post on Aviation Week's Ares blog, you'll find more smart folks in high places questioning the wisdom of building this thing. That's something you'll sometimes find me doing (though with neither brilliance nor from a lofty perch) over cocktails in semi-private settings, but never directly under the hungry gaze of the press.

You see, whether we think it's net-net a good idea at any one particular point in time, in any one particular geography, it's a moot (some say mute) point to question the value of the Smart Grid. The fact is, notwithstanding Smart Meter resistance movements in California, Maine and Ohio (thanks Andres), we're right now in the construction phase at varying degrees of speed all around the world. And the Smart Grid being built is much much more than those headline grabbing Smart Meters.

The attendant security challenges it brings are monumental. The risks, we hear, are growing daily. But overall, it's all the more worth pondering and tackling because of the central role awaiting a modernized energy grid in our future.

So question though we must (some more than others), the momentum towards a Smarter Grid is inescapable. As Tom Paine said, "Lead, follow, or get out of the way." I'm with him.

Image credit: Stefan Baudy on

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