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The smart grid promises improved reliability and efficiency, but the increased interconnected nature of the technology presents some serious cybersecurity risks.

To address some issues, the European Network and Information Security Agency (ENISA) brought together various stakeholders to discuss smart grid cybersecurity and has released various recommendations.

Here are the top 10 suggestions the ENISA report makes:

1. The regulatory and policy framework on smart grid cybersecurity needs to be improved at both the national and European Union level by the European Commission (EC) and member states' authorities.

2. The EC should promote the creation of a public-private partnership, along with ENISA and member states, in order to coordinate smart grid cybersecurity goals.

3. ENISA and the EC should initiate training in order to create more awareness of cybersecurity issues.

4. The EC, member states and ENISA should share knowledge about smart grid cybersecurity issues.

5. Existing standards and guidelines should serve as a basis for a minimum set of security measures.

6. Security certification schemes for components, products and organizational security should be developed by the EC and the member states' competent authorities.

7. EC and member states' competent authorities should encourage the creation of test beds and security assessments.

8. Strategies by the EC, member states and ENISA should be studied further and strategies should be refined in order to coordinate measures to counter potential Europe-wide cyber incidents.

9. Member states' competent authorities and computer emergency-response teams (CERTs) should cooperate so that CERTs can play an advisory role in dealing with cybersecurity issues that involve power grids.

10. Academia and research and development organizations should also play a role and encourage further research into smart grid cybersecurity.

Assessing risks, securing processes and identifying technological gaps and organizational problems are some of the main challenges that the smart grid will face in the years to come. Raising awareness and fostering training and knowledge by those involved is needed in order to bring security issues to the forefront, according to ENISA.

Standardization bodies recognize that there is not a clear standard describing the architecture of the future smart grid. The lack of a standard architecture spans all the different domains, including generation and distribution. Additionally, this lack of definition could be a cause for concern, because it prevents some working groups from further developing their activities.

ENISA says its recommendations are intended to provide useful and practical advice aimed at improving current initiatives, enhancing cooperation, raising awareness, developing new measures and good practices, and reducing barriers to information sharing. The organization believes that the recommendations are effective, achievable and urgently needed.

The implementation of these recommendations will be challenging, ENISA says, adding that many of the suggestions will require the active collaboration between the public organizations and the private sector. Additionally, European institutions will have to take the lead in a field that has been addressed only quite recently. However, ENISA believes that with strong involvement of all engaged parties, this will be an achievable task.


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