#CyberFLASH: An energy sector CIO explains what’s needed to stop security threats early

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The IESO’s Doug Thomas discusses the collaboration that may help avoid disastrous power outages in an era of M2M and the Internet of Things

For most CIOs, “uptime” is all about whether servers or other IT infrastructure is running properly, but Doug Thomas is one of the few who is literally focused on keeping the lights on.

Thomas is the vice-president of Information and Technology Services at Ontario’s Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO), an organization that works between power generators, retailers, distributors and other entities that supply customers across the province. The IESO was born of the de-merger of Ontario Hydro in 1999, along with Hydro One and the Electrical Safety Authority.

What the IESO is dealing with represents “big data” in its truest form, at least from a volume perspective. Thomas said energy prices are reset as often as every five minutes, while the organization collects more than 20,000 data points every three second and provides 75,000 reports every day. “For the grid and the market, there really is a tremendous amount of activity on an ongoing basis,” he said.

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