Cyber Security for Microgrids

White Papers > Microgrid Design > Cyber Security for Microgrids

This document describes a microgrid cyber security reference architecture. First, we present a high-level concept of operations for a microgrid, including operational modes, necessary power actors, and the communication protocols typically employed. We then describe our motivation for designing secure cyber security for a microgrid; in particular, we provide general network and industrial control system (ICS)-specific vulnerabilities, a threat model, information assurance compliance concerns, and design criteria for a microgrid control system network. Our design approach addresses these concerns by segmenting the microgrid control system network into enclaves, grouping enclaves into functional domains, and describing actor communication using data exchange attributes. We describe cyber actors that can help mitigate potential vulnerabilities, in addition to performance benefits and vulnerability mitigation that may be realized using this reference architecture. To illustrate our design approach, we present a notional a microgrid control system network implementation, including types of communication occurring on that network, example data exchange attributes for actors in the network, an example of how the network can be segmented to create enclaves and functional domains, and how cyber actors can be used to enforce network segmentation and provide the necessary level of security. Finally, we describe areas of focus for the further development of the reference architecture.

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