Mr. Sunil Jain, Operating Partner – Essar Capital, speaks at IOD 22nd WCEM Environment Management and Climate Change – 2021

Mr. Sunil Jain, Operating Partner, Energy Transitions, Essar Capital was one of the speakers at the IOD 22nd WCEM Environment Management and Climate Change – 2021. The panel had an enlightening discussion on the topic – “Creating a Cyber-secure Eco-system for the Power Sector”. The Summit was organised with an aim to discuss latest digital transformations and exposing cyber security risks.

Mr Jain was accompanied by reputed fellow panelists Mr. Abhay Kumar Singh – Chairman & Managing Director NHPC Ltd, India, Dr. Rajib K. Mishra – Chairman & Managing Director
PTC India, Mr. Ram Naresh Singh – Chairman Damodar Valley Corporation (DVC).

The session witnessed a thought-provoking discussion with the panelists focusing on integration of new smart grid and digital technologies. It also focused on how PSU companies, to be more successful, are now rethinking their business models by being more innovative and are offering a richer customer experience through a variety of channels.

Mr. Jain shared his thoughts on “power ecosystem of the future” and how cyber security is critical across generation, transmission, distribution and network businesses. According to Mr. Jain, detailed communication flows in electric grids are set to become more complex in the future. He explained how the growing use of drones, AI, blockchain and big data analytics will increase the potential for cyber security threats and exploits. He further mentioned, cyber security will become all the more critical specially by 2030 when we believe 40% of our vehicles will be electric and we will have charging stations all over the country connected to the grid.

He laid out a “cyber security triad” which consisted of three main pillars – availability of systems, confidentiality of information and integrity of data. In addition to this, he mentioned availability is by far the most important measure of the triad, as the consequence of downtime for power systems can be severe. Any measures ensuring the confidentiality and integrity of systems should never interfere with the availability of power delivery.

Mr. Jain also explained the three weakest link problems – Distributed energy sources, legacy devices, and requirement of physical network changes. He also added that addressing cyber security means being able to address and act throughout the life cycle of the threat.

Lastly he listed the goals of a cyber secure power ecosystem –

  1. Being able to operate in an environment where cyber-attacks occur.
  2. Reduce an attacker’s access to systems.
  3. Provide coordinated layers of protection.
  4. Ensure continuous monitoring and compliance.
  5. Continuously track and predict.
  6. Address the entire “Security life cycle”.
  7. Establish effective response systems.