Data Protection Trends for the Utilities Industry

    

From smart grids to smart meters, technology is transforming the way the utility industry does business. IT is being used to enhance operational processes and customer experience in a digital age where information security is trying to keep up with big data. To get an idea of the scope of data being collected, one only needs to look as far as the smart meters utilized by households. A single household smart meter can generate 400 megabytes per year. If you multiply that by 135 million smart meters in the United States, it equates to 54 petabytes, or a little more than half of the data uploaded to YouTube in a year. This data must be stored somewhere that is secure, so that if and when disaster strikes, it is protected.

Not only do utilities need to protect data, meeting federal regulations is paramount and if violated, can result in serious criminal penalties. An increasing amount of organizations are partnering with managed service providers to implement cost-effective disaster response procedures to ensure their data and operations stay secure in the event of  cyber attack, data breach or natural disaster that could result in an outage.

When finding the right-fit disaster response plan for a client, FNTS security experts conduct a security assessment to find out where there may be vulnerabilities and then implement the most efficient security solutions to fit budget and staffing ability to respond to disasters and threats. FNTS recently assisted Metropolitan Utilities District (MUD) in Omaha, Nebraska meet robust security, continuity and availability requirements. FNTS also implemented cloud data services to enhance MUD’s disaster recovery plan with a geographically diverse backup and redundant storage model. 

Having a disaster response plan is a great information security measure that can prevent company downtime. Having assurance that data and services are secure allows organizations to recover quickly and consistently through replication services, reducing both the risk of compliance and business losses. In most industries today, failure to recover from an outage can cost organizations customer satisfaction and cause a significant amount of financial damage. FNTS works with organizations to establish and test disaster recovery plans to ensure systems can get back online quickly and efficiently in the event of an outage.

According to Ponemon, nearly 70 percent of critical infrastructure managers reported at least one security breach that led to the loss of confidential info or disruption of operations within a 12-month period. In today’s economy, it’s hard to run an organization providing services to customers without an in-depth disaster response plan. Regardless of company size, it is imperative to plan for that one event that could or will cause an outage.

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