The 4.0 industry and the digital transformation it drives affect the most diverse business segments, including mission-critical infrastructure applications such as oil and gas, water and electricity. “In the context of electricity there is a movement in the market for increased efficiency, reduced operating costs, process automation and also for greater safety in the interaction between equipment. Digitization corroborates to provide answers to each of these items by introducing techniques for the construction of digital substations, intelligent asset management systems, monitoring and supervision, ”says Júlio Oliveira, Technology Manager - PGGA Grid Automation from ABB.
For Marcelo Branquinho, CEO of TI Safe, there is no denying all the benefits and advances in providing services to consumers that the digitization of the electric sector brings. However, in the opinion of the executive, there is an important side effect that needs to be countered: the large exposure to the risks of cyber attacks and damage generated by possible intrusions. The attacks hackers They are not usually reported by the power companies, but it is possible to measure the size of the damage caused by systemic shutdowns. The Center for Telecommunication Research and Development (CPQD) conducted a study in 2018, which estimated that every minute of interruption in the supply of electricity in Brazil the economic impact would be R $ 5 million, every hour R $ 303,8 million and a whole day stopped would reach $ 7,29 billion.
Digitizing systems is, however, an important and backward route to the industry. Júlio Oliveira, from ABB, points out that the benefits are relevant. “Predictive maintenance, for example, optimizes the actions and organization of power utility operation groups, and effectively preserves substation primary equipment such as transformers and circuit breakers. Other examples are: increased level of telemetry that generates more data for use by Business Intelligence (BI), scanning of power substation yards by replacing the copper cables that bring current and voltage information to the control room with an Ethernet network - a solution that simplifies operation and allows the substation to be extended; investigation of anomalies and prevention of grid interconnected power, by synchronized phasor measurements; the incorporation of intelligence for 3 level SCADA systems with DMS, EMS, WHO, GIS and ADMS techniques; the use of machine learning and artificial intelligence for analyzing large volumes of data; applications of cloud computing for virtualization storage and execution of systems, among many other advances, have revolutionized the energy sector and put it at the forefront of technology, ”says the executive.
But Júlio Oliveira chooses Marcelo Branquinho to say that every digital transformation also brings risks. For him, the greater the advance of digitization and the integration of systems, also increases the volume of data in traffic. “When we talk about mission critical systems, we are dealing with sensitive data. Therefore, it is important to implement precautionary tools against leaks, information corruption, or data loss that hamper application execution. This is a risk that demands attention and for this reason cyber security must be present, ”he informs. ABB Technology Manager says he does not believe that there is a recipe for establishing protection against any and all risks. But, according to him, some procedures can mitigate.
Júlio Oliveira evaluates that 4.0 industry projects are collaborative, that is, customers, manufacturers and universities should establish partnerships to define requirements, developments and tests. “Knowledge must be shared and diffused. It is important to adequately train professionals in the IT, electronics and electrical fields, in addition to planning applications and clearly setting objectives. And only then select the most appropriate techniques to meet the goals and determine the products / software that will corroborate for success. Last but not least, the need to maintain sensitive and relevant confidentiality information should not be ignored. In this scenario, investments in cyber security should not be seen as just spending because they will be increasingly fundamental in our new digital world, ”concludes Júlio Oliveira.