DTECH 2024: Collaborative Solutions Are the Key to Cybersecurity of the Electric Grid


Intertrust and EIPGrid have embarked on a strategic partnership to fortify the cybersecurity of the electric grid, emphasizing the critical role of data trust and fluidity in the era of AI-powered energy management. Integrating EIPGrid’s xVPP with Intertrust’s XPN data protection solution aims to safeguard data privacy and ensure regulatory compliance amidst the rapid infrastructure upgrades necessitated by climate change and the global shift towards decarbonization.

This initiative highlights the importance of securing the vast data streams flowing from an ever-growing network of IoT-enabled energy assets, including renewable sources and electric vehicles, against potential cyber threats. Through advanced data governance and interoperability features, the partnership sets new standards for protecting the grid’s integrity, ensuring a clean energy future built on a secure and reliable data management foundation.

Cybersecurity of the electric grid was top-of-mind when MarketScale spoke with Hebberly Ahatlan, the Director of Product Marketing at Intertrust, at DISTRIBUTECH 2024. Hebberly said the proliferation of virtual power plants and microgrids brings the role of cybersecurity into clear focus when discussing IT and OT device integration.

Hebberly’s Thoughts

“Intertrust’s mission today is to interoperate devices, protect data, and help the integration of IT and OT devices. Today, we have new business models such as VPPs and microgrids infused with a wide range of IoT devices and software platforms. Our main goal is to protect the data coming from those devices into the cloud and from the cloud back to the devices. It’s a bi-directionalprocess where we are making it possible to integrate legacy devices and modern devices in the same energy ecosystem. There is an inherent need for data interoperability in geothermal, solar, and wind frameworks. Businesses built around these three renewable sources are leading the way in integrating digital energy infrastructure such as microgrids and virtual power plants.

The IoT devices and AI software platforms make rich digital energy ecosystems that can enhance grid resilience, but by the same token, the ecosystem is also disparate and disconnected due to the age and incompatibility of some devices. Intetrust is solving these issues by connecting all digital energy components in a seamless way. Moving forward, we’re going to be able to integrate the consumer as well as the grid into a secure smart seamless ecosystem. The integration resides under an umbrella where data, grid assets, and consumer personal information is protected”

Cybersecurity of the Electric Grid in the Smart Ecosystem

“Today, there are many entry points where it is easy for a cyber hacker to enter a digital energy ecosystem. The easiest place is your home. In the future, you’re going to be living in a smart ecosystem where your home is going to be part of the grid, and you’re going to be able to manage it, but at the same time, you’re going to have a great number of devices that can be hacked easily. So therefore, at the national level there needs to be mandates and regulations that help secure your smart home in addition to robust technical cybersecurity advancements. k. For example in Europe, GDPR enables personal data protection. Similarly in the U.S. we have regulations put forth by NIST. Recently, the White House issued a cybersecurity mandate that is guiding businesses to establish strong data protection measures. This is paving the way for us at Intertrust to be able to channel those mandates into actual software that enhances data interoperability and protection.”

Collaboration and Integration

“Collaboration is critical. That means the IoT devices, the AI software, and the grid need to be talking to each other. How do they talk together? Via an interoperability central hub where DERMs, AI, and IT and OT infrastructure can share information seamlessly and securely. We have a case study here in collaboration with our EIPGrid partners, whose main job is to integrate all the monetization data and all the maintenance information into one single seamless pane of glass. They bring the data together and we protect it via our XPN solution.”

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