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News

Network Security For Public Power Utility

Q1 Labs : 02 November, 2010  (Application Story)
Q1 Labs is helping to protect Phoenix infrastructure site with QRadar SIEM solution for improved network security management
Q1 Labs has announced that Salt River Project (SRP), the nation's third-largest public power utility and one of Arizona's largest water suppliers, has selected Q1 Labs' QRadar SIEM to enhance its network security management efforts and better meet compliance mandates.

SRP, based in Phoenix, was established in 1903 as the nation's first multipurpose reclamation project authorized under the National Reclamation Act. It is comprised of two entities, the Salt River Project Agricultural Improvement and Power District, a political subdivision of the state of Arizona, and the Salt River Valley Water Users' Association, a private corporation. Together, Salt River Project supplies power to nearly 1 million customers in a 2900 square mile service area.

SRP was facing multiple challenges due to the divided nature of its operations, such as satellite IT departments, a lengthened time to resolution of issues, multiple log management solutions in deployment, and no standard between event monitoring solutions. SRP's main priority was to deploy one overarching SIEM solution that would resolve all of these issues, while correlating security-related events and providing a more efficient way to meet compliance mandates such as the NERC (North American Electric Reliability Corporation), CIP (Critical Infrastructure Protection), and FERC (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission) mandates.

"The network management and security departments collectively evaluated six SIEM and log management solutions - we all unanimously selected QRadar from Q1 Labs," said Ty Moser, Network and Smart Grid Analyst at SRP. "The other solutions we evaluated contained numerous reliability issues, were unable to keep up with all log sources, and were costly regardless of scale requirements. QRadar has an intuitive, web-based UI, built-in compliance reporting, automated High Availability (HA) deployment, and the ability to correlate flows with security events and logs to minimize false positives. We are looking forward to expanding our use of QRadar in our new Network Operations Center (NOC) that is currently under construction."

SRP currently uses QRadar to collect logs from more than 1,500 log sources, including switches, routers, host proxys, firewalls, VA scanners, IDS/IPS, etc. The utility takes in roughly 1,500 to 2,700 events per second, and about 3,000 flows per second.

"One of the greatest benefits we've achieved with QRadar so far was our ability to quickly identify which hosts were affected by the 'Hear You Have' virus that attempted to infiltrate our network," continued Moser. "QRadar alerted us immediately when users tried to access websites that were housing the virus, or when infected hosts attempted to pass through our firewall when calling home."

"As an increasing amount of our utility customers make the transition towards creating a Smart Grid, they are faced with the challenge of protecting their networks from cybercriminals and nation-state attacks," said Chris Poulin, Chief Security Officer at Q1 Labs. "Utilities are becoming an increasingly popular target among cybercriminals, as the information they try to obtain can grant access to water schematics, power sources and vital resource information. QRadar enables companies to track every movement on their network, providing the utmost security of their assets."
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