IT service management company Fortress Information Security announced the launch of a new platform aimed at protecting the United States power grid from cyber threats. In partnership with American Electric Power, the new Asset to Vendor Network for Power Utilities is designed to promote collaboration among electric companies and reduce the costs associated with cybersecurity regulatory compliance.
“Building the A2V Network is consistent with Fortress’ mission to secure critical infrastructure,” Fortress CEO Alex Santos said in a press release. “Our team is looking forward to working with AEP and other electric energy companies in taking this next step to secure the North American grid.”
In recent years hackers have begun to target vendors working with power utilities. Since power utilities often rely on the same supply chain vendors for equipment, software and services for their Bulk Electric Systems hackers can infiltrate multiple power utilities by targeting one supplier.
In an effort to address this emerging risk the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission recently issued new rules that require utilities to develop a plan for managing cyber threats to their supply chain. The new FERC requirements will likely cost companies additional time and financial resources. However failing to complete a cyber threat management plan before the June 2020 deadline could mean fines as high as $1,000,000 per day.
A2V seeks to simplify this process. The platform will help organizations share technology and information to support security efforts for vendors in the supply chain.
A2V will include a library of completed vendor risk assessments that comply with the new regulations. Power companies who join A2V will be able to purchase vendor assessments and contribute their own completed assessments for purchase by the network to receive a portion of the proceeds.
“Power utilities need to work together to accomplish our shared goal of a secure power grid. Stephen Swick, Director of Cybersecurity Intelligence and Defense for AEP, said in a release. “A2V offers the opportunity for companies to collaborate and help mitigate the significant costs of protecting the grid.”