Utility technology deployments are racing ahead at an unprecedented pace. Grid modernization programs drive greater implementation of IT capabilities into operational environments. Technologies that were once exclusive to IT, such as virtual machines and containers, are now appearing in substations. The line between Information Technology (IT) and Operations Technology (OT) continues to blur. IT adds greater potential for efficiency and automation in OT environments but brings with it attack vectors rarely if ever before seen in operational environments.
UTC conducted a cybersecurity survey of its 170 member utilities late in 2021, to gauge the current state of OT cybersecurity. The survey comprised five major areas: Protecting OT environments, Grid Modernization and Cybersecurity, Key Cybersecurity Issues, Cybersecurity Governance, and Consistency across the Organization. This is the third cybersecurity study that UTC has conducted in the past six years, and it is the first to have a heavy emphasis on operational security.
This UTC research report examines the current trends of OT cybersecurity among our member utilities. The study is based upon analysis of responses to our survey, representing a wide range of utilities, from large vertically integrated utilities to small electric distribution cooperatives. Some key conclusions include security’s place at the table in planning technology initiatives, how utilities are dealing with two-way traffic between IT and OT, and key insights into which protections utilities are deploying or avoiding. This research report is useful to utilities who want to understand how their colleagues are approaching OT cybersecurity, and to vendors that wish to do business in this continually evolving market.