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Authentication and authorization for Smart Grid application interfaces

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1 Author(s)
Sitaraman Lakshminarayanan ; GE-Energy, Atlanta, GA USA

Smart Grid Applications interfaces with other Smart Grid and back office applications to solve various business needs. For instance billing systems needs to be interfaced with AMI system to find out the power usage in order to bill the customer. AMI System may be interfaced with DMS system as part of demand response management. Such interfaces could cross logical, physical and organizational boundaries thus creating a need for secure systems integration. When interfacing one Smart Grid application with another one has to ensure that only authorized users can interface and that requires authentication to be done in the first place. In a highly integrated Smart Grid environment that crosses across applications from various vendors and some may be hosted outside, it is a challenge to create authentication and authorization policies and enforce them in a consistent manner. This paper will describe the challenges regarding authentication and authorization such as the possibility of losing the authenticated user Identity when various applications are interfaced, privilege escalation, and the challenge of defining and enforcing consistent authorization policy. This paper will also describe various interoperability standards and a reference architecture that will address the challenges.

Published in:

Power Systems Conference and Exposition (PSCE), 2011 IEEE/PES

Date of Conference:

20-23 March 2011