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New cyber security asset inventory solution unveiled at PowerGen Africa

July 18, 2018  

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Today at PowerGen Africa in Johannesburg, South Africa, ABB unveiled a new solution, ABB Ability Cyber Security Asset Inventory, designed to reduce the time, cost and vulnerability associated with managing assets connected to online services, the so called “cyber inventory.”

“Take an 880 MW coal fired plant with 8000 cyber assets,” said Susan Peterson-Sturm, ABB’s digital lead for Power and Water. “Manually maintaining its cyber asset inventory would require three employees working one to two days a week, the equivalent of around 48 hours weekly, 192 hours monthly, or 2304 hours annually. The automation through ABB Ability Cyber Security Asset Inventory significantly reduces labor costs as well as security risk.”

ABB Ability Cyber Security Asset Inventory will be available from September 2018 for customers in the power and water industry before later being rolled-out to all industries.

Cyber security standards require operators of critical infrastructure to assess their cyber security regularly. Typically, this is done every 12 to 24 months depending upon the corporate policy or national standard. To do this, an operator must first complete an inventory of the software, ports and services they have enabled within their control network.

Until now there was no global automated tool available that could collect the information and create such an inventory for an operator’s environment, so they had to either maintain their inventory manually or use consultants to deliver the work. Currently, most companies maintain their cyber security asset inventory in a manual way which is time consuming, expensive, and results in their inventory being incomplete.

According to a company press release, the new ABB Ability solution significantly reduces the need for any manual collection and formatting of asset data. It automatically captures changes in the inventory and updates the industrial cyber asset inventory. Users benefit from an evergreen view to support vulnerability assessment efforts.

The new solution reduces system vulnerabilities by comparing behaviors.

“In order to defend an environment you must first understand it,” says Peterson-Sturm. “Knowing expected normal behavior will help spot anything out of the ordinary so rogue devices or applications can be identified. Expected behaviour, through documentation and performance data, is crucial in detecting anomalies.”