Empowering Electric Cooperatives: Overcoming Common Challenges with Securing OT Assets with Innovative Solutions

In the world of electricity generation and distribution, cooperatives and municipal utilities play a vital role in ensuring that power reaches communities across the nation. From large-scale power plants to smaller regional entities, the energy landscape is evolving rapidly. With technological advancements come opportunities for greater efficiency and optimization, but they also introduce new challenges in terms of security, availability, and operational resilience.

One common challenge faced by electric cooperatives and municipal utilities is the management of geographically distributed substations and sites. These networks are often spread far across a wide geographical area, making it challenging to oversee operations efficiently. To make informed decisions, teams need comprehensive visibility into the assets within their environment, their locations, and contextualized data regarding their behavior.

Addressing Electric Utility Challenges with SynSaber

Electric utilities encounter several specific challenges in managing their assets and networks. Here’s a closer look at these challenges and how SynSaber offers innovative solutions:

Challenge: Large-scale deployments are difficult throughout industrial environments.

Solution: Flexible, scalable sensors with minimal resource requirements

SynSaber’s sensors, known as Sabers, are entirely software-based, offering flexibility and scalability deployment with minimal computing resource requirements. Sabers can be launched in virtualized or containerized machines, on existing industrial hardware with available computing resources, or other configurations as needed.

Challenge: There is limited visibility throughout the industrial environment.

Solution: Deployment at the edge provides near-complete visibility

Visibility  into remote sites is often difficult to establish, making them challenging to monitor and maintain without the need for manual processes or operator involvement. SynSaber addresses this by deploying Sabers at the edge, providing near-complete visibility from Purdue level 1 and up. Operators, analysts, and other team members can see valuable asset information and network traffic, including device-to-device communication across the environment.

Challenge: We don’t have the capacity to meet regulatory compliance requirements or audits.

Solution: Continuous monitoring and data capture automates certain compliance requests.

Meeting regulatory requirements such as NERC, INSM, or FERC can be daunting. Sabers facilitate data gathering for compliance by continuously monitoring network activity and changes in asset inventory and updates this data in near-real time. It also captures full packets of historical data for future reference with supporting evidence.

Challenge: Many of our asset identification and management processes are slow or manual.

Solution: Automate asset management with continuous updates.

Many smaller cooperatives and municipalities rely on manual processes or operator interactions to understand network activities, which can be time-consuming and inefficient, especially for those with smaller teams. Sabers automatically update asset information and inventories as changes occur, eliminating the need for managing multiple spreadsheets. Sabers curate and update relevant data at the edge, so organizations can make informed operational, financial, and managerial decisions.

Challenge: Existing resources don’t have the time to learn and manage another tool.

Solution: Sabers are vendor-agnostic for seamless integration.

Managing additional tools can strain existing resources and slow processes down. Sabers seamlessly integrate into existing environments and facilitate the transfer of curated data to where it’s needed most, from historians and data lakes to SIEMs, SOARs, MSSPs, as well as any other existing tools.

Empowering Teams Across the Organization with Accessible Data

SynSaber empowers electric municipalities and cooperatives by focusing on making visibility data accessible and easy to use for teams across the organization.

Automated asset management and data gathering makes it easy for users to deploy Sabers at the edge (substations, power generation sites, etc.) to gather and curate relevant information. This reduces manual processes around asset discovery, identification, and management.

Continuous network monitoring quickly identifies changes and updates to asset and network activity, including the detection of remote protocols, to enhance security and compliance. Continuous monitoring captures even transient events, so even temporary connections from third parties or vendors can be captured and investigated if necessary.

Flexible integration and data import makes it easy to incorporate data from the Sabers into existing tools and workflows. Users can consolidate asset information from multiple sources to enrich asset profiles for better visibility and easier management. 

In an era where efficiency, security, and compliance are paramount, SynSaber’s innovative solutions provide the tools needed to overcome challenges and empower cooperatives and utilities to deliver reliable power to communities across the nation. Doing more with less is not just a wish-list item; it’s a reality that enhances the resilience and efficiency of electric utilities.

Discover how SynSaber can help your cooperative or municipal utility achieve greater visibility and operational robustness. Reach out for a demo today and explore the future of electric utility management.