by Martina Ludwig | 05.12.2019
What must a powerful, open and future-proof PV monitoring platform be able to do? What security aspects should be in place and what points need to be considered in the course of the Digitization and data protection to be taken into account? We passed these questions on to our colleague Martina Ludwig from the IT Operations department.
The error analysis should be actively supported by a monitoring platform, i.e. by means of a knowledge database. This supports the operator in quickly identifying the cause of the error. Here, as almost everywhere, the principle applies: "Time is money". If the attempt remains unsuccessful, it should be possible to report the error to a higher-level support team via the monitoring platform. An embedded ticket system is very helpful here.
A professional monitoring platform is characterized, among other things, by the fact that it must be continuously available and run with high performance. This means a fast Internet connection, powerful hardware, and the use of the latest, but nevertheless mature and stable technologies. Since a platform like this handles customer data, the first priority is to protect it. There are several points to consider here:
The Solar-Log™ monitoring system consists of the data logger (hardware) and the online platform Solar-Log WEB Enerest™ (software) for the user. Data is exchanged between the data logger and the online platform for configuration and plant monitoring.
Communication between the monitoring platform and data loggers must be strongly encrypted (i.e. via the SSL protocol). Ideally, even via a dedicated VPN communication. A VPN here is an end-to-end corridor between the individual data logger and the monitoring platform. No other participant in the network can "see" into this tunnel or send or access data via it. The data logger itself must also be actively secured. For this purpose, everyone who installs, maintains or configures the respective logger is instructed, so that he himself or with the active support of the Solar-Log™ team carries out everything correctly. This includes, for example, setting up the correct password protection.
As digitalization progresses, a lot will change. Innovative business models and digital developments will help us to simplify processes and increase the availability and possibilities of PV energy. Despite this "brave new world," we must never forget data protection. This is because wherever data flows, is exchanged or stored, protection is necessary. This includes communication via the web interface, which is of course encrypted. Recognizable by the lock symbol in the browser and the identifier "https" in the address line. This currently ensures that the customer actually sends his personal data over the network in encrypted form.
The monitoring platform (software) runs on servers, which represent a neuralgic point. Their security must always be up to date to protect them from unauthorized access. This includes in particular the use of a secure and stable operating system platform. This is where special Unix servers come into play or, in the case of very large platforms, mainframe servers such as those that have been in use at banks for decades. Security and stability have top priority with such servers. Solar-Log™ relies on Linux servers with state-of-the-art cloud technology for its platforms. These servers are maintained and secured by specialists who deal with the latest security technologies and constantly keep their knowledge up to date. This includes, in particular, technologies to detect and fend off intrusion attempts. In addition, there is the use of so-called firewalls, which only release what is absolutely necessary to the outside world.
Every device is only as good as the user. That is why I would recommend to everyone the Solar-Log™ Trainings recommend. In addition to important content on the installation and operation of the Solar-Log™ monitoring platform, these cover the topic of security, among other things. In addition, of course, there are safeguards that should be standard, but often are not. Such as a secure password, an up-to-date firewall, and anti-virus program. This already provides a good basis for the security of the data, which supports the extensive measures and constant efforts of the manufacturers, so that the user's data is safe!