More digital IoT device, smart meter, fault current indicator, and power quality regulator are adding data and value to utility operations. Utilities are seeing the benefits of IT/OT integration. Smart meter data can used for outage management. Asset management strategies are being improved by viewing real-time asset-performance data. Information on DERs enables greater control in real time.

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Modern utilities are starting to realize that putting OT in a sandbox is not ideal for technological innovation. That said, OT/IT integration creates a new set of security risks for utilities to manage. The potential impact of a breach in utility control systems should be taken very seriously. An attack on utility OT systems can not only affect the business, but it can also turn into a national emergency if citizens lose access to critical utilities.

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Solving OT/IT Integration

Over at Greenbird, we have solved the OT/IT integration conundrum by leveraging data diodes (or "unidirectional security gateway") connected to our digital integration platform Utilihive. By implementing the Greenbird protocols to work with and through data diodes, data can be exchanged seamlessly between OT and IT systems through Utilihive in a secure manner.

This is achieved through the secure unidirectional characteristics of a data diode that provides a one-way communication path that ensures that information only can travel in one direction.

Utilihive allows utilities to achieve seamless OT/IT integration and enjoy real-time connectivity whilst managing the typical risks associated with security threats. With Utilihive, real-time communication between OT and IT systems is finally possible. Utilities are now empowered with the ability to maintain a highly connected, scalable, and secure IT infrastructure.

Key Advantages

The OT can benefit from this integration with a more efficient, scalable, managed and secured infrastructure onto which numerous applications can be layered including predictive maintenance as well as remote asset monitoring and management. Benefits on the IT side include secure real-time communication with the enterprise’s assets while retaining the requisite efficiency for creating, scaling, maintaining and securing the infrastructure.

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