Beyond IT: Keeping Renewable Energy Systems Secure and Compliant
As the renewable energy industry embraces digitalization to improve efficiency and management of its systems, the call for more robust cybersecurity measures and compliance standards grows louder.
Protecting against cyber threats is essential for safeguarding sensitive data, complying with regulations, and ensuring a reliable and continuous supply of clean energy to meet the growing demand.
Our Ask an Expert video series, “Beyond IT,” explores this in more detail. In the three-part series, Charlie Driscoll, Power Factors’ Head of Information Security, takes a closer look at security- and compliance-related challenges, the differences between cloud-based and on-premise software, and best practices for ensuring top-tier security practices for renewables.
Why is Security and Staying Compliant So Important?
Charlie starts by breaking down the basics of security and compliance and explains the impact unauthorized access to IT/OT networks and SCADA systems can have on critical infrastructure like energy systems. Whether in-house or third-party software, vulnerabilities can creep into seemingly secure code, posing potential risks. Choosing a trustworthy software vendor that proactively plans for these risks means the right precautions are being taken to safeguard your assets.
Since data breaches and other cyberattacks can have harmful effects on the reliability and stability of the power grid, regulatory bodies set more standards to ensure that personal and operational data is handled securely and in compliance with relevant laws. Adhering to these standards helps minimize downtime and maintains a consistent power supply to end-users.
Watch part one of the “Beyond IT” video series “Navigating Clean Energy Security and Compliance” for a more in-depth look at security and compliance challenges in renewable energy.
Cloud vs. On-Premise Software
When it comes to choosing the right software for your renewable energy operations, it’s important to understand the difference between cloud-based and on-premise solutions. Recognizing how each can impact the security and compliance of your operations is a crucial step in your decision-making.
Cloud-based software is hosted on servers owned by a cloud provider, who has full control over that environment. It can be easier to adopt and maintain, and comes with many benefits, such as more frequent, easier-to-implement updates and access to technologies like security vaults. However, because data is stored on servers connected to the rest of the internet, concerns about data security and compliance may exist for the most sensitive information.
On the other hand, on-premise software runs on local servers and hardware within the organization. It can offer another layer of security through an “air gap” that isolates the assets from potentially unsecured networks like the internet. It also aligns with regulatory standards such as NERC CIP, making compliance more straightforward. However, managing updates, especially across dispersed locations, can pose challenges.
In the second part of our “Beyond IT” series, “Cloud or On-Premise Software?” Charlie Driscoll, our Head of Information Security, dives deeper into the differences between cloud and on-premise software, weighing the pros and cons of each.
Top-Tier Security for Renewables
At Power Factors, trust is a core value, and security is foundational to everything we do. We recognize that building a resilient security and compliance plan for renewable energy software demands commitment, planning, and investment, and we explore every avenue of protection for our customers’ data.
One of the tangible ways we prove that our customers’ data is in trustworthy hands is through the rigorous testing and certifications we take part in each year, such as SOC 1 and SOC 2 Type II and ISO 27001.
Collaborating with industry partners, such as Amazon Web Services (AWS) is another way we ensure the highest level of security compliance to protect our customers’ critical data.
Watch part three of the “Beyond IT” video series, “Building Top-Tier Security for Renewables Software,” to learn more about Power Factors’ commitment to security and collaboration with industry partners for continuous improvement.
Interested in learning more about Power Factors’ secure and compliant applications? Get a demo.