The next generation of smart meters will have computerized operating systems like those in laptops or mobile devices. This week, NIST released its first draft guidelines to help utilities test their upgrade procedures to ensure they conform with the security and functionality requirements of the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) Standard for Smart Grid Upgradeability.
NIST and the Smart Grid Interoperability Panel earlier determined that the need for upgrade requirements was a high priority that needed immediate attention. NEMA developed the requirements on a rush schedule.
The draft is a generic set of test criteria that any utility could use to find out if their upgrade procedures meet the NEMA requirements. "Companies will be able to tailor these generic test criteria to their own systems," said Marianne Swanson, senior adviser for Information security at NIST. "To make it an effective framework, we made sure that it contains consistent, repeatable tests they can run, producing documentation that contains adequate, accurate information regardless of the individual system."
She added that use of the test criteria is voluntary, and that NIST will work to improve them as they receive comments on the draft. The official comment period for the guidelines is 30 days, although it expected that work will continue on the testing framework until the final version is published in April 2013.
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