N-Dimension Used by NMPP Energy to Protect Joint Action Agency Against Cybersecurity Threats
N-Sentinel Identifies 12 Unique Critical Threats in First 60 Days
Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada – March 17, 2015 – N-Dimension, the leader in innovative cybersecurity products protecting distributed smart energy networks from cyber attacks, today announced the Nebraska Municipal Power Pool (NMPP Energy) adopted the N-Sentinel solution for continuous cybersecurity monitoring, alerts and reporting providing them with the visibility and guidance they needed to improve their security posture. Uniquely, N-Sentinel’s utility community cyber monitoring provides customers with insights into threats affecting other similar utilities enabling them to take respond proactively and reduce their risk.
NMPP is one of the largest Joint Action Agencies (JAA) in the U.S., and is headquartered in Lincoln, Nebraska. They provide electric power, natural gas and utility related services to nearly 200 member communities across six Midwestern and mountain states. As a JAA their communication networks connect to member utilities so cybersecurity is a critical issue affecting not only NMPP but all their members to which they connect as well.
With the increasing frequency of cybersecurity breaches among utilities, Bob Selzer, Director Retail Utility Services at NMPP, was concerned they did not have adequate security protection in place, despite firewalls and other perimeter security devices protecting their core network. After a security audit was conducted, an N-Sentinel cybersecurity appliance from N-Dimension was installed as part of a free trial. N-Sentinel is a comprehensive early-warning system that non-intrusively monitors network traffic and uses cloud-based intelligent threat analysis and real-time alerts to quickly identify and classify threats. In-depth actionable threat reports offer details about the type and severity of threats helping IT prioritize actions to improve their security posture.
“I was surprised and concerned to see the high number and severity of threats hitting our network on a daily basis,” said Selzer. “I knew right away we had work to do to improve our security posture and armed with the detailed information from N-Sentinel plus guidance from N-Dimension’s team of security experts, we have made significant improvements. Utilities need to face the fact that threats are coming fast and furious – whether or not they’re ready.”
During the trial period, N-Sentinel identified and generated alerts on an overwhelming number of security events that bypassed NMPP’s existing layers of network security. For example, N-Sentinel detected 3.8 million Priority 1 high risk and Priority 2 medium risk alerts that included viruses, remote access trojans, malware, exploit attempts and reconnaissance. A fact often misunderstood, is that a single threat can generate hundreds to thousands of alerts giving an inaccurate perception of how many real threats are present. N-Sentinel uses cloud-based threat analysis to cluster these alerts into 12 unique security concerns and provided recommendations on mitigation. Understanding these security concerns enabled NMPP to address them as high priority and improve their security posture.
NMPP has expanded use of N-Sentinel and is now using it to protect their core network as well as their SCADA network. With the increasing adoption of smart grid devices and applications such as advanced metering infrastructure (AMI), distribution automation (DA), and outage management systems (OMS) the need for increasing security protection on operational networks has quickly escalated.
“We find that many utilities don’t know they are vulnerable to cybersecurity threats…until after an incident,” said Tom Ayers, CEO N-Dimension. “Hackers are upping their game and we are ready to work with utilities to deploy a cybersecurity monitoring solution that adds an essential layer of protection that which many utilities don’t have today and which leaves them exposed.”
About N-Dimension Solutions
N-Dimension is a market leader in the development of innovative cybersecurity products that protect distributed smart energy networks from cyber attacks, improving system reliability and safeguarding critical infrastructure, data and assets. The company offers N-Sentinel, a cloud-based, real-time threat detection and alert product that uniquely combines utility community context and security intelligence enabling utilities to take offensive action in protecting against cyber threats. N-Dimension is the exclusive cybersecurity partner of Hometown Connections, the utility services subsidiary of the American Public Power Association (APPA).