SmartSynch, AuthenTec team up in strategic smart grid security relationship

You could probably see this one coming, but now it's official: Smart grid infrastructure player SmartSynch has signed a deal with AuthenTec to add what it is calling "carrier-grade" open security standards to its product line.AuthenTec's security -- which covers everything from identity management to touch controls and biometrics -- actually already is part of the SmartSynch's GridRouter communications hub.

You could probably see this one coming, but now it's official: Smart grid infrastructure player SmartSynch has signed a deal with AuthenTec to add what it is calling "carrier-grade" open security standards to its product line.

AuthenTec's security -- which covers everything from identity management to touch controls and biometrics -- actually already is part of the SmartSynch's GridRouter communications hub. The new deal will ensure that the same level of security is added into SmartSynch's smart metering platforms by the end of 2010, according to SmartSynch CEO Stephen Johnston. Specifically, SmartSynch is using AuthenTec's QuickSec/IPsec toolkit. Think of this like a virtual private network for the smart grid.

"Security is the No. 1 issue in the smart grid being discussed today," he says. "This answers the question, 'how do you create a security architecture that can stand the test of time.' "

Johnston says the relationship is noteworthy for several reasons: First, AuthenTec's brand of security has been battle-tested by the federal government and by financial institutions, both of which have notoriously high standards for security. Second, Johnston notes that the high-bandwidth capabilities of SmartSynch's platform, which uses public carrier networks, allow it to command the demands of AuthenTec's security technology. Third, any advances that are made in one industry will flow through to benefit smart grid security.