N-Dimension Solutions, a managed cybersecurity services provider, has announced a partnership with Missouri-based electric services utility Citizens Electric Corporation (CEC). Under terms of the relationship, CEC will leverage the N-Sentinel Monitoring network traffic, alerting and detection solution to help meet regulatory compliance and gain visibility into cyber threats, N-Dimension said in a prepared statement.
The announcement is particularly timely. Many utilities across the United States are closely studying a potential malware threat called CrashOverride. Dragos and ESET have warned utilities that potential malware variants could emerge to attack the U.S. electric grid. The N-Dimension-CEC announcement isn't specifically related to that malware threat, but it shows how MSSPs are working more closely with utilities to protect critical infrastructure.
N-Sentinel Monitoring helps CEC meet North American Electric Reliability Corporation critical infrastructure protection (NERC CIP) compliance through continuous monitoring of inbound and outbound communications of its supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) network, according to N-Dimension.
The solution enables CEC to protect confidential customer and utility data and assets, N-Dimension said, and logs cybersecurity incidents and generates alerts.
Plus, N-Sentinel Monitoring provides customers with security incident logs required for compliance via a secure web portal that can be viewed or downloaded at any time, N-Dimension pointed out.
"As a managed service, we can quickly help utilities meet NERC CIP compliance and deliver the essential intelligence and reporting needed," N-Dimension CEO Tom Ayers said in a company statement.
N-Dimension Assists Electric Utilities
In addition to its CEC pact, N-Dimension has unveiled several partnerships with electric utilities over the past few months.
N-Dimension last month announced Sulphur Springs Valley Electric Cooperative (SSVEC), a Southeastern Arizona electric utility, is using N-Sentinel Monitoring to protect its SCADA network and corporate network from cybersecurity threats.
With N-Sentinel Monitoring, SSVEC has identified security policy violations such as transmission of passwords in clear text and unauthorized applications in use on its network, N-Dimension noted in a company statement.
Furthermore, other electric utilities to deploy N-Sentinel Monitoring over the past few months include:
- Vermont Electric Cooperative: Implemented N-Sentinel Monitoring on its internal network to identify cybersecurity risks.
- Minnesota Valley Electric Cooperative: Deployed N-Sentinel Monitoring to help safeguard all of the utility's IT and operations networks and data.
- East Central Energy: Added N-Sentinel Monitoring as an extra layer of cybersecurity protection on its corporate network.
N-Dimension in April surpassed the milestone of 100 utility companies across the Americas, the company said in a prepared statement.
Moreover, since the launch of N-Sentinel Monitoring in April 2015, N-Dimension has generated over 80 million cyber alerts on customers' networks, according to the company.
"The growth of N-Dimension is indicative of the expanding and evolving threat landscape utilities are faced with," Ayers said in a company statement. "We are investing in our technology to defend against the next generation of cyber threats on the horizon."