Feb 25, 2014

U.S. Water Utilities System Deploys Electronic Security Perimeter

Electronic security perimeter secures critical water service infrastructure

Owl Computing Technologies Inc. Electronic Security Perimeter Water Utilities

A major U.S. water utilities system selected Owl Computing Technologies Inc. for the deployment of an electronic security perimeter to mitigate external cyber vulnerabilities.

The water utilities system is one of the largest water service providers in the southeastern U.S. serving more than 800,000 customers. To assess risk, the utility conducted tests to identify the components of their utilities—pumps, generators and SCADA system—that would be vulnerable to external cyber threats. The result was the isolation of a control network that included a pumping station operating at an average of 65,000,000 mgd. This isolation mitigated cyber-attack vulnerabilities but created operational inefficiencies due to the elimination of plant operating data being made available to key personnel on the corporate network.

The water utility recognized its valuable critical infrastructure role as one of 16 critical infrastructure industries identified in Presidential Policy Directive 21: Critical Infrastructure Security and Resilience. The water utility also wanted to operate efficiently.

The water utility sought a solution that would protect the plant operating network and provide an efficient way for control system data to be shared with the corporate network. Owl Computing Technologies was selected to provide the desired solution. The water utility deployed Owl's DualDiode Technology with the Owl Secure Network Transfer System (SNTS). This deployment enabled information to flow from the control network to the corporate network while mitigating any cyber-attack on the control network. The water utilities system was able to restore the operational reporting efficiencies that existed prior to the control network isolation. The DualDiode solution allowed the secure transfer of historian reports across the electronic security perimeter. This eliminated the bottleneck associated with manually moving the reports on mobile media or "sneaker net".

Additionally, the water utility implemented Owl's Virtualscreen View Service (OV2S) application software to provide real-time images to key personnel on the corporate network that enabled the secure monitoring of computer platforms within the control network. The Owl solution enabled engineering resources to have 24/7 access to the Wonderware HMI from remote locations, making monitoring easier of instruments and controls, increasing productivity and adding an additional layer of critical support.