Energy ecosystem and cyber resilience

5/17/2019

Cybersecurity risk is a real business risk.In the energy industry, cyber risk is also an ecosystem-wide risk. Cyber resilience is a challenge for all organisations, but it is of particular importance for any energy ecosystem.

A large-scale blackout would have socioeconomic ramifications for households, individuals, businesses and vital institutions. Traditionally, managing this risk has meant dealing with issues such as component failure or inclement weather via robustly engineered mitigation and recovery plans.

Today, reliability plans in energy delivery must integrate a carefully designed cyber resilience strategy. This will ensure energy supply, which fuels the economy and impacts life of thousands to remain flowing and reliable.

At Atlantic Power Exchange we have identified three areas where our platform can help minimise or mitigate cybersecurity risks:

1. Symbiotic ecosystem

The energy ecosystem has always been large, complex and heavily interconnected. Organisations, large and small, within this environment rely on one another for business-critical components and services as well as collaboration to manage the risks that this interdependence brings. However, the introduction of digital technologies has amplified the level of integration and introduced an additional dimension of risk that all organisations within the ecosystem need to manage together – cybersecurity risk.

Increased power network connectivity, the convergence of operational technology and information technology, the proliferation of internet of things (IoT) devices and the digitisation of business models are expanding the exposure to cyber attack surface for malicious actors to exploit. Simultaneously, legacy infrastructure with long lifespan needs to continue to be managed. Additionally, with increasingly decentralised grids come more small-scale energy generators. Cyber attacks on these small-scale generators can affect society just as significantly as compromises to larger entities. Organisations in the energy ecosystem need to work together to devise effective cyber resilience strategies and to integrate these strategies into existing electricity resilience plans.

Using distributed ledger technology at its core, Atlantic Power Exchange’s platform has been engineered with security and stability as a fundamental requirement. This ensures optimum reliability without the need for significant overhead requirement.

2. Disconnected cyber resilience design

Because it is a newer fixture on the business risk landscape and therefore difficult to quantify the risk and return on investment, cybersecurity ramifications are not often considered as systematically as other risks. This mindset induces a culture where responsibility for cyber risk is often solely given to the IT department.
In the energy industry, where there is a real-time requirement for energy delivery, cyber resilience can no longer be managed in isolation and thought of as a "bolt-on" solution. It needs to be integrated with business risk and owned by all parts of the organisation involved in the ecosystem.

Atlantic Power Exchange’s architecture has considered this in its design. The platform design has ensured cybersecurity management is rooted in its operation and reduces the cybersecurity management burden from all participants in the energy ecosystem.

3. Culture and human factors

Government bodies have attempted to improve the cybersecurity capabilities of all energy organisations by instituting regulations. These regulations have offered requirements for foundational security, but being compliant does not necessarily mean being secure. Moreover, with the rapid digitisation of the energy ecosystem, it may not be reasonable to expect regulation to keep pace with the newest cyber risks. As a result, these organisations need to adopt a “resilience culture” and take a strategic approach to managing cyber risks.

At Atlantic Power Exchange we are building a digital marketplace for the exchange of energy while remaining cognisant of the risk factors prevalent within energy ecosystems.

We aim to encourage clean energy solutions by facilitating energy exchange between producers and consumers of energy through our digital platform designed to minimise cyber security risks for all stakeholders.

Alongside our international team of experts, Atlantic Power Exchange is developing the technology to provide a secure, resilient and reliable energy trading platform. For further information please follow us on Linkedin, Twitter or our website.