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Energy Sector IoT Cybersecurity Gains Momentum

The electric distribution industry continues to invest in digital transformation projects. Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) technology is becoming a driver for connected electricity meters, which will reach an installed base of 1.3 billion by 2027.

AMI growth is prompting utilities and energy suppliers to revisit their IT infrastructure security and device management operations, according to the latest worldwide market study by ABI Research.

Energy Infrastructure Security Market Development

Digitization of traditional electricity grids and the modernization of the aging energy infrastructure is among the top concerns for utility operators and governments worldwide. Security for last-mile energy consumption applications was frequently overlooked.

"However, the introduction of AMI, smart metering, and grid digitization is steadily increasing spending for secure management services, assisting implementers to transition to IT (information technologies) and OT (operational technologies) security services and help tackle their primary objectives," said Dimitrios Pavlakis, senior analyst at ABI Research.

These key objectives include streamlining consumer and commercial electricity usage, satisfying the need for increased industrial output, tackling demand for real-time energy optimization services, assisting with the introduction of renewable sources, and decentralized energy.

Collectively, the industry's primary goal is to increase the security threshold for this critical national infrastructure across the globe.

"The name of the game is oversight, efficiency, and security when it comes to smart metering," Pavlakis says. "The responsibilities for utilities and energy suppliers have increased significantly and they are treading into new potentially unfamiliar grounds."

Utilities will align with governmental regulations, enable new supply chain interactions with manufacturers to make sure device OEMs satisfy hardware and software security requirements for smart meters, coordinate on digital identity issuance, and secure firmware installation.

They'll also ascertain cost-efficiency for capital expenditures for long-term security investments, and continue to serve their end-customers while streamlining the transition to AMI services.

The introduction of governmental regulations regarding deployment, management, and oversight in AMI is perhaps one the most important predictors in the Internet of Things (IoT) security services for electricity meters, forcing utility operators to revisit their strategies.

According to the ABI Research assessment, identity issuance, device management, firmware over-the-air (FOTA), security intelligence, and traffic monitoring are among their top investment priorities.

Outlook for IoT Cybersecurity Applications Growth

Additionally, the focus on regional grid management and the introduction of thousands or millions of smart meters prompts utilities to invest in their on-premises headend servers through Hardware Secure Modules (HSMs) and security management platforms to mitigate some of the long-term costs.

That said, I anticipate that more energy sector CIOs and CTOs will invest the time and effort to understand the growing depth and breadth of connectivity and security offerings across hardware HSMs, eSIMs, and device management services.

The software applications for intelligent and automated device management, within the greater IoT category, are an emerging area of potential rapid growth. This is a scenario where DevSecOps will benefit from the deployment of Unified Endpoint Management (UEM) solutions.

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