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Join us at Distributech 2016!

DistribuTECH 2016

We’ll be at DistribuTECH for the seventh year in a row on February 9-11 at the Orlando Convention Center. Meet us in Booth #2047 to learn how we are working with our partners to help utility companies worldwide lower costs and deliver more services on a single, intelligent, and secure platform.

Visit our booth to demo our expanded portfolio:

We'll be ready for you in Florida

A preview of our booth demo

Industrial Cybersecurity: Detect and prevent both internal and external attacks on process control systems, and remediate cybersecurity incidents.

Collaborative Solutions: Reduce the impact of natural disasters on the grid with incident response and workforce enablement solutions. Help first responders collaborate by unifying command and control communications.

Substation Gridblock: Securely manage millions of endpoints over multi-vendor, multi-technology, and multi-service utility communication networks.

Field Area Networks: Address advanced metering infrastructure, distribution automation, and remote workforce management over a single multi-service IP network platform.

Cisco IOx: Develop your own smart applications to capitalize on the power of fog computing. We are enabling developers to create IoT applications such as data aggregation, control systems, and access control – and have them run on edge network devices. Our industry-leading networking operating system Cisco IOS makes this possible together with Linux, the leading open source platform.

In addition to our demos, Read More »

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SAMREF Refinery Embraces Wireless Applications to address safety, reliability and efficiency

Cisco partner Honeywell have published great customer story illustrating the OneWireless* Network Infrastructure solution that features Cisco innovation and ruggedization. It addresses customer issues of safety, reliability and efficiency. It provides true visibility for the customer. Read on to find out more…

SAMREF is a joint venture between Saudi Arabian Oil Company (Saudi Aramco) and Mobil Yanbu Refining Company Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Exxon Mobil Corporation. The case study tells us that the SAMREF refinery complex in Yanbu, Saudi Arabia produces approximately 400,000 barrels of product daily including gasoline, heating oil, LPG, jet fuel and other energy products.

As a Control Engineering Article (Industrial wireless for mobile video monitoring) from a couple of months ago states:

“Since 2013, SAMREF has used a wireless network to enable Wi-Fi clients and ISA100 Wireless field instruments to wirelessly connect and to obtain measurements in hard-to-access locations; this works consistently and reliably in areas previously considered impractical or off-limits.

Even with the flexibility to quickly and cost-effectively employ wireless closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras, however, it is impossible to cover the entire site. As a result, those in the central control room can end up with no view of intrusions, fires, explosions, or other incidents facing emergency response teams. Plant managers or operations directors are left in the dark, usually completely reliant on verbal information from the teams on the ground.

To overcome this problem, an industrial wireless provider worked with SAMREF to deploy a live video solution for its emergency command vehicle, a first responder to any incident”***

Well, you now know that the industrial wireless partner was Honeywell, providing a solid Cisco mesh-based solution, with an architecture similar to the Honeywell image shown below.

It’s clear that SAMREF were looking for a solution that would provide strong business benefits:

  • Safety: improving plant and worker security.
  • Reliability: improving maintenance program and/or reducing maintenance costs.
  • Efficiency: managing long distance installations or remote sites with minimal up-front and life-cycle costs.

So Honeywell were charged with enhancing the customers incident management procedures and rescue ops to improve employee safety. The solution had to have a wireless network that was rugged and able to reliably transmit quality video from cameras to central control sites and mobile “Incident Commander” vehicles. That’s where Cisco and our partnership comes in:

Honeywell OneWireless

The OneWireless solution includes CISCO 1552S Access Points with integrated ISA100 Wireless**. Cisco especially designed our access points to be able to integrate with certain 3rd party protocol radios – and ISA100 being one of the main two. Each wireless access point at SAMREF includes three radios – one for communications with traditional transmitters, a second radio for communications with Wi-Fi devices and a third radio for high speed communications of field data. The CISCO Wireless LAN Controller is also an integral part of the solution. Read More »

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Utility and Energy Security: Responding to Evolving Threats

With the increased interest in cybersecurity and the recent news that utilities are being targeted around the world I’m making sure our readers have seen the latest white paper to come out of the Cisco ‘Brain-Trust’ on security in utilities and the energy industry.

As the white paper announces, “Utilities and energy organizations are part of the critical infrastructure of any nation, which makes them a high-profile target for cyber terrorists and hackers alike. Modernization brings gains in efficiency, but it also increases the attack surface through which threat agents can target utility infrastructure.”

It’s tough being a utility. Constant regulations, standards compliance, security and safety issues. Our security experts analyzed the IT security capabilities of the utilities sector in general, using specific data from the Cisco Capabilities Benchmark Study. They looked at the views of both chief information security officers (CISOs) and security operations (SecOps) managers and, different to other industries, seem closely aligned. What are the differences then, versus other industries? Here are some findings:

  • 73% percent of IT security professionals at utilities say they’ve suffered a public security breach, compared with 55% in other industries.
  • 56% percent of the IT security professionals in utilities say they use cloud-based web security, compared with 36% of the respondents in other industries.
  • 64% percent of CISOs and SecOps managers in the utilities sector say they make use of mobile security tools, compared with 50% of security professionals in other industries.

One important note: The study focused primarily on IT security capabilities, not on the state of operational technology (OT) security. There is a growing trend of convergence between IT and OT, and I and others in Cisco have talked about the ramifications of that trend.

Utility and Energy Security small

Click the image to download the whitepaper

Despite my earlier claim that the data supports a similarity of views between CISOs and SecOps managers, interestingly the opinions of CISOs and SecOps managers diverge somewhat when the conversation turns to IT security controls. For example, 67% of CISOs say that their organizations have adequate systems for verifying that security incidents have actually occurred, but only 46% of SecOps managers say they have such systems in place. Also, 73% of CISOs say they have well-documented processes for incident response and tracking, while just 54% of SecOps managers say they have such systems. That’s worrying to me.

The white paper has lots of charts and supporting documentation, and discusses the differences between the utility industry and other industries, especially the readiness of using tools and the availability of funds focused on security. One things for sure: utilities are frequently a target of cyber attacks because of their high public profile and the potentially damaging effects of a data breach or service disruption. That explains the figures in my first bullet above (73% versus 55%). This vulnerability further highlights the security challenges that utilities are facing. In many countries, utilities have to report breaches by law, a requirement that may have contributed to the high number of recorded breaches. Perhaps due to their tightly regulated environment, utilities are also slightly more likely than other industries to use internal security incident teams.

At any rate, utilities seem, in many cases, to learn the hard way. What do I mean? Well, publicly breached utility companies lean more heavily on tools such as network security, firewalls, and intrusion prevention systems (IPS), instead of distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) defenses or VPN security tools. For example:

  • 76% of utilities that have dealt with a public breach say they use firewalls and IPS tools, but only 53% of utilities that have not dealt with a public breach use them.
  • 64% of publicly breached utilities use vulnerability scanning tools, compared with 44% of non-publicly-breached utilities.

Breach Status

The figure above illustrates the point. Utilities’ Use of Various Security Threat Defenses (in %)

Interesting, eh? Also, public breaches appear to encourage utilities to more closely examine their security processes. For example: Read More »

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Cisco Security Workshop at OilComm 2015

OilComm2015

OilComm2015-CiscoGet the edge and agility to innovate, compete, and win with Cisco’s digital solutions for oil and gas. Connect machines, assets, and people across your business with proven architectures and technologies. Secure it all from board room to field worker to remote, unmanned site.

Ever wondered about how to tackle the security risks the Oil and gas industry is facing? Well, if you’re at the OilComm Conference and Exposition in the George R. Brown Convention Center Houston, TX during November 4th to 6th, check out the 10.00am to 11:30am session with joint leader Robert Albach, Cisco Product Line Manager, IoT Security: How to Build New Risk Reduction and Communications Security Strategies from Scratch
Room: 360 DE

The details are on the right, and if you attend you’ll get new insights into how to secure your critical infrastructure, how to go about assessing the risk factors, and get practical tips from a no-nonsense panel.

To add the workshop to your outlook, click here.

After you’ve attended, let us know what you think by commenting on this blog!

To find out more about Cisco in Oil and gas, go to www.cisco.com/go/oilandgas.

 

 

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European Utility Week Showcases Cisco Leadership

EUW2015

pcouturaGuest blog by Philippe Couturaud, Cisco Business Development Manager, EMEAR Utilities:

This week you have the opportunity of meeting up with Cisco at the European Utility Week event in Austria. Cisco has become synonymous with providing advanced critical infrastructure for our utility customers enabling higher availability, greater reliability, and stronger security.

At stand A.k35 in the exhibition area (Hall ‘A’, Stand k35) you can come by our booth and learn how Cisco continues to expand our portfolio to better serve our customers. You can talk to our experts and experience our industry use case demonstrations showcasing new solutions for Cyber/Physical Security, Teleprotection, MPLS, and a lot more:

EUW2015Booth* Demonstrations at the booth will include “Unify Your Field Area Network Deployment”, “Effectively Manage Substation Operations“, “Teleprotection Over MPLS WAN“, along with “Fleet & Field Worker Solutions“.

  • * Cisco will be part of the GRID4EU Hub presentation on Nov. 4th, 9.15 AM to 12.30 PM. The Demo leaders will present the results of the most promising approaches and solutions developed within their demos – session 34 in the Hub.

Come visit us and find out about smarter, safer, more highly secure power grids offering reliable, efficient service. See how you can monitor, log, and diagnose systems with Cisco’s substation security solution. Find out how you can unify your field area network deployment with Cisco. See how Cisco is making a difference in the industry!

We’re looking forward to seeing you there!

For more information check out www.cisco.com/go/utilities.

 

EUW2015#3

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