Secure Communications and Computer Operations to Represent the Largest Investment in Smart Grid Cyber Security

November 3, 2010

The industry debate about smart grid cyber security is gaining increased prominence as utilities, governments, consumers, and other stakeholders become more concerned about the vulnerability of the electrical grid to attack.  A new report from Pike Research forecasts revenue opportunities for 10 key smart grid security risk types, and finds that investment in telecommunications and computer operations is likely to be the largest category, with 35% of total smart grid cyber security revenue by 2015.

“Communications and IT systems are the traditional areas that most people think of when cyber security is mentioned,” says industry analyst Bob Lockhart.  “Encrypted communications and malicious software suppression are two examples of steps that utilities will take in securing their smart grid infrastructure.  However, cyber security needs are actually much broader than these traditional segments, and the expanded requirements for grid security will drive a flurry of innovation and deployment activity within the industry.”

Lockhart adds that industrial control systems (ICS) are one of the most important areas in need of greater focus and investment.  “ICS networks have traditionally been neglected from a cyber security standpoint because a majority of security practitioners have an IT background and do not understand ICS, and many of the ICS networks are older or physically isolated from mainstream networks.  However, the recent Stuxnet attack against Windows-based SCADA control servers has raised awareness of the need for ICS protection, and also debunked the security-by-obscurity approach taken in many ICS circles.”

Pike Research anticipates that government and regulatory compliance will drive substantial investment in smart grid cyber security.  Some of this investment will inspire the deployment of countermeasures required by standards such as NERC CIP.  And beyond industry-specific standards, smart metering and electric vehicle management will also stimulate spending for compliance with Personal Data Protection requirements, for which non-compliance can bring dramatic consequences.

Pike Research’s report, “Smart Grid Cyber Security”, examines the market issues and opportunities associated with providing secure information technology and industrial control system environments for smart grid deployments, using ISO27002:2005 and NIST 800-82 as baselines for analysis.  The study includes profiles of key industry players as well as granular market forecasts, segmented by world region, smart grid application, and security risk type, through 2015.  An Executive Summary of the report is available for free download on the firm’s website.

Pike Research is a market research and consulting firm that provides in-depth analysis of global clean technology markets.  The company’s research methodology combines supply-side industry analysis, end-user primary research and demand assessment, and deep examination of technology trends to provide a comprehensive view of the Smart Energy, Clean Transportation, Clean Industry, and Building Efficiency sectors.  For more information, visit or call +1.303.997.4619.


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