Graybar Poised to Assist with Power Gen Challenges

Felton, Brett
Brett Felton,
National Industrial Market Manager

Brett Felton, National Industrial Market Manager at Graybar, discusses the things that keep his customers in power generation awake at night and the solutions Graybar offers to meet their needs.

Q. What is the biggest concern of your power generation customers?

A. While there are many top-of-mind concerns like source fuel choices, workforce skillsets evolving and more, the number one concern would have to be cybersecurity. This has been fueled by the sophistication of computer worms like Stuxnet, which was written with the intent to disrupt industrial processes.

Q. Why do you think cybersecurity is particularly troubling to power generation customers?

A. Just this past October, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta spoke of the real possibility of a “cyber Pearl Harbor,” where a cyber terrorist could attack and paralyze computer control systems that operate transportation systems, chemical plants, water treatment plants, and power generation plants. Even if an attack is not a threat to national security, it can create safety issues for employees and production downtime. A loss in a plant's production for even a few days has a tremendous financial impact on the company. Cyber-attacks also are troubling because there are so many new ways a computer virus can invade a production environment, like through laptops and USB drives.

Q. What types of cybersecurity solutions does Graybar offer?

To help ensure physical network security or prevent accidental access and vandalism to the network through the use of physical deterrents, we offer industry-leading devices from Panduit, including blockout devices to restrict access to adapters and jacks and lock-in devices to prevent unauthorized removal of cables from computers, phones or any other critical connection. Also, Panduit's color-coded cables, jacks, patchcords and bands assist not only in quick installation, maintenance and troubleshooting, but also provide a quick visual to show that the physical network devices have not been altered.

We also offer security routers from Belden-Hirschmann, which not only increase security by splitting your network into compartments but also act as universal security modules at the machine level where security requirements are becoming increasingly complex. Belden's products like the Eagle Tofino™ Firewall LSM allow you to place security appliances at the key ‘choke points' in the process network to limit and monitor what traffic is allowed to pass.

And, if you are looking to combine the functions of a router, firewall and VPN device for maximum security and system availability, we offer Phoenix Contact's FL mGuard network components. The optional Virtual Private Network (VPN) allows for secure connections over the Internet to remote sites or machines, saving you time and money.

Q: How else can Graybar help customers from the power generation industry?

A: With more than 260 locations, we are in close proximity to any power plant. And we have all the electrical and comm/data supplies you need for planned or unplanned outages, like replacement breakers, MCCs, transformers, cables and cable trays, etc. Graybar is your source, and we have technical specialists in power, automation and control, networking and security who can help with your application.