Waverley Labs and Lee College of Engineering Announce Solution to Quantify Digital Risks for Power Grids

Date Published: 
January 20, 2015

Waverley Labs, a leading digital risk management (DRM) company, and The William States Lee College of Engineering today announced an innovative risk management solution based upon a research and technology collaboration focused on modeling relationships between cyber-attacks and the electric and physical infrastructures associated with the power grid.

During the past year, researchers in UNC Charlotte's EPIC Duke Energy Smart Grid Laboratory working with Waverley Labs conducted a systematic analysis of risks and associated threats to power transmission systems to identify critical points of failure. The collaboration leveraged advanced knowledge processing that integrated IT systems and cyber security data with operational and physical data. It resulted in a new and innovative solution that will enable energy companies to model consequences and quantify business impact associated with each risk.

“Concerns regarding grid resilience are increasing as computers, communications networks and electric sensors continue to merge,” noted Dr. Dr. Madhav Manjrekar, associate professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and EPIC associate. “EPIC, in partnership with the Waverley Labs, is focused on advancing digital risk management for the energy industry to help identify critical points of failure and recommending risk mitigation initiatives before they become targets for attack.”

Waverley’s risk-based approach supports the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Cyber Security Framework and aims at building digital resilience.  This new model delivers key information that enables energy companies to identify and prioritize which risks need to be mitigated based on possible consequences, ranging from business interruptions to loss of human lives. Results are prioritized and quantified in an easy to interpret “visual score-card.” The model is currently under evaluation for wider use within the energy industry.

“The nation’s electric power grids are arguably the most important assets to protect from attacks,” said Juanita Koilpillai, founder of Waverley Labs. “Only through understanding the relationships between computers and the electric grid, and the ability to quantify failure scenarios, can we develop effective solutions for mitigating risks and maximizing protection of this critical infrastructure.”

The Digital Risk Management Institute is a nonprofit organization led by business executives, risk officers and security executives to analyze digital failure scenarios, create standard DRM knowledge, and promote best practices for managing digital business risk. 

“We applaud EPIC and its collaboration with Waverley Labs to develop solutions that effectively model relationships between cyber and electrical infrastructure,” stated Nicola Sanna, President of the DRM Institute. “The Energy industry stands to benefit from this groundbreaking new approach capable of measuring and quantifying risks according to business impact and recommended risk mitigations.”