Cybersecurity solutions

Market research company IDC Energy Insights this week issued a new report analysing western European utilities’ IT investment priorities to improve operations.In a press statement, IDC said the study sought to track how Western European utilities plan to invest in Enterprise and Line-of-Business (LOB) solutions including asset management, billing, customer care, cybersecurity, meter data management, supply chain management and network automation.

To gather the report, 'Business Strategy: Utilities IT Investment Priorities for Solutions', IDC carried out a survey of Western European utilities in 2015.

Smart grid investments in western Europe

[quote] The report findings reveal that cybersecurity in Western Europe is the highest IT solution area of investment for utilities in 2016 specifically data loss and leakage prevention, mobile security, and cloud security.

The research firm also released a complementary report to understand the benchmark of ICT budgets versus revenues, IT budget spending and IT budget distribution, leading business initiatives to support IT decisions, and top information security priorities among utility enterprises across Western Europe.

According to Gaia Gallotti, IDC Energy Insights Research Manager, "With smart meter deployments picking up again in countries such as France and the UK, Western European utilities will focus their IT solution investment potential on adopting new MDM solutions and, to a lesser extent, on enhancing/upgrading their existing MDM solutions in the next 12 months. Interestingly, this applies to water utilities as well."

Key findings from both reports include:

  • Major areas of software spending for Western European utilities US$3,2bn investment were in customer care and billing (CC&B) and enterprise resource management (ERM) in 2015.
  • Regarding utilities' customer operations, workforce mobility has the highest investment potential in 2016. Also, customer care solutions will be a high investment priority, expected to attract the most investments in new solutions, while billing solutions will attract the most investments in upgrades.

Cybersecurity in Western Europe

The release of the report follows continued efforts to improve grids' cybersecurity by utilities and stakeholders in Europe.

In Q4 2015, the European Network and Information Security Agency (ENISA) said despite a "limited budget", the agency has added I0T to its 2016 work plan "as an estimated €640 billion is at risk as hacking and cyberattacks reach new heights".