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Southern becomes first utility to join cyber defence network

Steve Rogerson
June 16, 2020

Atlanta-based gas and electric utility Southern Company has become the first partner of an alliance set up to allow US power companies to share vital cyber-threat information and bolster cyber defences.
The Asset to Vendor Network for Power Utilities (A2V) was founded by Fortress Information Security and American Electric Power (AEP) to create a security partnership.
Utility companies have invested and built cyber defences to wall off networks and protect from wide-scale attacks to ensure that US consumers have a reliable and sustainable power grid. The A2V network, managed by Fortress, is focused on providing utilities across the nation the ability to share critical information to identify, measure and mitigate cyber-security risk. A2V enables members to have up-to-date risk assessment information on threats and allows the utility industry to coalesce collectively.
"Utilities have a long history of working together to overcome challenges, and securing our mutual supply chain through A2V is just the latest example," said Tom Wilson, vice president for Southern Company. "A2V offers the opportunity for companies to collaborate and help share expertise and best practices."
By taking part in the A2V collaboration, companies are able to reduce overall operating and maintenance costs associated with cyber-security compliance, access a library of completed vendor risk assessments and contribute to a national cyber-risk assessment library for utilities.
"The utility industry, like no other, is built on the foundation of collaboration," said Alex Santos, co-founder and CEO of Fortress. “When faced with a challenge, whether it be a natural disaster or an attack on a power grid, the industry comes together. The A2V network builds on the industry's culture of collaboration, enabling it to be more aware, prepared and secure. We welcome Southern Company and look forward to more utilities joining our national movement."
The collaborative network of utilities aims to share intelligence to cyber-secure their vast supply chains that deliver bulk power, IT and mission critical systems. Fortress, based in Florida, specialises in securing the supply chain and industrial assets of North American critical infrastructure.