A key component of the grid modernization ecosystem, a smart meter is a web device that measures energy, water or natural gas consumption of a building or home.
While traditional meters only measure total consumption, smart meters record when and how much of a resource is consumed. Utility companies are deploying smart meters to monitor consumer usage and adjust prices according to the time of day and season.
Click here for additional insight on smart meter growth rates and use cases worldwide according to Navigant Research.
Due to its Internet-facing capability, there are several challenges when it comes to smart meter security. We spoke with Jay Cappy, client consulting partner, global solutions enablement at Verizon Enterprise Solutions about three key factors.
"Historically utilities have operated a strictly isolated control network," said Cappy. "However, with digital meters connected to the network, there is a need for security measures and a defense in depth strategy in place to mitigate risk from worldwide threats."
Cappy recommends that utilities identify risks exhaustively by doing a post-mortem on "lessons learned" from past cases worldwide.
Secondly, while Cappy acknowledges that security protection/monitoring measures are designed for each sub-system, inter-system fail-safe measures and correlated monitoring is needed. Additionally, third party testing of the sub-systems is required.
"Access using home area network devices needs to be controlled properly by security measures as well as adequate regulations and certification processes to prevent unexpected scenarios."
Finally, Cappy said that dedicated design for analytics is needed to capture threat scenarios with sophisticated monitoring.
For more information on Verizon's solutions for energy and utility companies, click here.