Case study

Upgrading SCADA host systems

to minimize operational and security risks

For utility service providers serving millions, ensuring the seamless delivery of essential services is crucial and requires innovative and robust solutions to tackle ongoing challenges. True North Solutions is proud to showcase our proficiency in industrial protocols and supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems, demonstrated by an ongoing project with a leading utility operator. This project profile will delve into the successful partnership between True North and our client, highlighting the SCADA system upgrades and testing required to ensure regulatory compliance and the safety of both operations and assets.

Our client is a well-known utility operator responsible for natural gas, electric transmission, and distribution. The company provides electrical and gas services for millions of clients located within a 70,000-square-mile service area. With the size and complexity of its operational systems and its highly recognizable public profile, the client faces continuous cyber threats and physical threats to its operations and assets.


To prepare for an upgrade of its state-wide electrical advanced distribution and metering system, the client needed to perform a SCADA system control center conversion of its entire electrical operational system. The client engaged True North to assist with testing their operations’ process communication media from the end device to its SCADA control center and the quality of converted assets.


Before beginning the project, True North’s validation of the following was required:

  • Operational technology (OT) cybersecurity policies
  • Incident awareness and incident response protocols
  • Compliance with North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) critical infrastructure protection (CIP) cybersecurity reliability standards
  • Compliance with National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) cybersecurity requirements

With team members comprising more than 200 client, vendor, and contract personnel, the client needed to verify the development and delivery of the system, which included customized protocols, fire mitigation, fault detection and recovery, third-party power exchange partners, geographic information systems, and other internal advanced system integration.

True North provided the client with procurement, construction, and validation services for three power equipment labs. With True North’s expertise in industrial protocols, we were also engaged to test and validate the vendor-developed protocol. In the current project phase, True North continues to provide point-to-point testing support for substations and feeder devices.

Due to its critical nature, scale, legacy equipment dependencies, and advanced application integration needs, True North was engaged in the quality assurance aspects of the project, ultimately minimizing the client’s overall risk. True North also implemented strict monitoring of the project’s budget, schedule, and cyber information to ensure the client follows the strict regulatory requirements overseen by federal regulating agencies.
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