Protecting the Grid: MicroAge’s Energy and Expertise Helps Fend Off Threats
For decades, the security of virtually all providers in the energy industry—from power generators to oil refineries—and their process control systems was considered immune to attack. Operating under the assumption that these types of internal networks were closed, most facilities presumed their critical infrastructure was secure from cyber threats or other intrusions. In the ensuing years, major threats of both an internal and external nature have emerged, necessitating a proactive and protective response to avoid catastrophe. Today, energy companies need to have the technology in place to protect their process control systems from volatility and disruption by cyber terrorism, computer viruses, hacker attacks, operator errors, and even natural disasters.
Dedicated to providing security solutions for critical infrastructure, this MicroAge client company is a leader in its field. It works closely and confidentially with its end users to assemble custom IT solutions. As the client works with its end users, it relies on MicroAge to supply the technology components that it customizes with coding and other features. David Knowles, MicroAge Solutions Expert recalls, “At the outset, the client had a list of specific needs for us to fulfill, but as we got to know the company a bit better, we suggested and provided alternatives that better met their needs in both technology and pricing terms.” Consulting with company executives and specialized security personnel along with vendors in numerous conference calls, David and his fellow MicroAge Solutions Expert, Chris Robinette, developed a solution suite that was readily adaptable to the client’s specifications and which met its testing and coding needs. This is a fairly complex series of steps as many of the client’s end users are subject to governmental regulation, screening and evaluation processes.
Nonetheless, MicroAge has successfully supported both its client and the entities it serves with equipment that meets rigorous criteria and delivers the security level required. Equipment specified regularly includes Cisco 3550 and 3750 routers, Cisco 2960 and Metro Ethernet 3400 switches, SonicWALL firewall products, and Dell R-series servers. While the client sources readily available product, its ultimate configuration is unique to each client application. Ordered on a project-by-project basis and shipped nationwide, MicroAge sources equipment that is significant in both volume and dollar terms. The goal is to protect and insulate those systems from internal and external attacks; by integrating leading technology with customized security, such mission-critical process control networks are protected from breach by any internal or external threat.