Today, Snohomish County PUD is the second-largest publicly owned utility in Washington. They serve about 318,000 electric customers and nearly 20,000 water customers. Their service territory covers over 2,200 square miles, including all of Snohomish County and Camano Island.
Snohomish County Public Utility District No. 1, or the “PUD,” was created in 1936, by a majority vote of the people, for the purpose of providing publicly owned electric and water utility service to the people of Snohomish County and Camano Island. The vote to create the PUD was part of the public power movement in the Pacific Northwest.
In the early years, the PUD was primarily in the water distribution business, beginning operations on January 17, 1946. The Lake Stevens Water System was the first project to be organized and built. Other projects followed, like the Beverly Park Water System and Sunnyside Water System. On September 1, 1949, the PUD became primarily an electric utility with the purchase of the electrical distribution system to serve all of Snohomish County and Camano Island from Puget Sound Power & Light Company.
In the early 1980s, the PUD built its own Henry M. Jackson Hydroelectric Project (a hydroelectric generating facility located on the Sultan River). The PUD also owns a cogeneration facility on the Everett waterfront that burns wood for fuel.
With strong industry regulatory compliance demands, increasing pressure from the Department of Defense and Homeland Security, and growing fear from consumers about data protection and general security, the need for secure data transfer at energy and utility companies is more important now than ever before. Snohomish County PUD knew they needed a solution to address these security concerns, but also needed a solution that would complement their existing SAP infrastructure investment.
While their SAP system provided standard File Transfer Protocol, it did not provide Secure File Transfer Protocol (SFTP). To utilize their existing FTP adapter to support SFTP protocols, Snohomish County PUD would have to undergo the very time-consuming and cumbersome task of writing scripts to accomplish that, as well as maintaining/updating those scripts each time they upgrade their SAP system. Snohomish County PUD was not prepared to commit the time and/or resources to do that, and knew that a better option had to be available.
They turned to SAP partner Advantco for help.
The concept of file transfer is not new. Companies have been doing it for years. But, the demand for a better, easier to use, secure file transfer continues to grow as companies like Snohomish County PUD face pressures on many fronts, both internal and external to their organization. Advantco created a solution specifically for SAP NetWeaver® customers, to address that need for SFTP and the challenges companies face when searching for the right solution.
The solution, which integrates with SAP® applications, provides a secure and managed data transfer alternative to traditional FTP and FTPS. Once implemented, the Advantco SFTP Adapter acts as a client to receive and send data from and to an SFTP server.
After a quick and easy implementation, users at Snohomish County PUD can choose the Advantco SFTP Adapter from their list of available adapters in their SAP integration directory. Since the adapter uses all the existing functionalities of SAP NetWeaver® PI, it delivers the same benefits as the standard SAP adapters, including but not limited to alerting, run-time workbench monitoring, and channel monitoring. To address their specific security concerns, Snohomish County PUD can import public and/or private keys for SFTP into their standard J2EE keystore.
Snohomish County PUD can also upgrade to take advantage of the fact that Advantco’s SFTP Adapter complies with the FIPS 140-2 standard to enable use by the U.S. Department of Defense, other federal agencies, and their contractors.
To implement and enforce truly secure, end-to-end data security and transmission, Snohomish County PUD chose to complement the Advantco’s SFTP Adapter with the PGP Module for SAP NetWeaver®, also from Advantco. While PGP alone ensures that files are encrypted, and SFTP ensures that the transmission process is encrypted, together the two ensure that all files are completely encrypted from origination to final destination (user). With help from Advantco, Snohomish County PUD was able to leverage this double-layered protection throughout their entire organization, and benefit from a seamless integration with their existing SAP infrastructure.
The Advantco PGP Modules offer PGP/OpenPGP services on data exchanged through the SAP NetWeaver® Integration Server or the PCK. A PGP sender module signs, encrypts, and/or compresses message payloads, while the PGP receiver verifies, decrypts and/or decompresses message payloads.
With native integration with SAP NetWeaver®, the modules follow the SAP NetWeaver® XI/PI Adapter modules standards. Installation of the modules is easy and quick and can be plugged in behind or in front of any sender/receiver SAP XI/PI adapters, including non-Advantco adapters. The modules also support any data format, including flat files and binary data, and feature a versatile key management system for even more powerful protection.
Because both the Advantco SFTP Adapter and PGP Module are completely integrated in SAP NetWeaver® and work within the SAP NetWeaver® J2EE engine, the joint solution offers Snohomish County PUD the ultimate platform to ensure secure data transmission for SAP NetWeaver®.
“Since we had already made such a significant investment in SAP, and because this solution would impact a number of different business units here at Snohomish County PUD, it was important that this purchase not just be IT decision. It had to be a business decision,” explained Brian Hurlbert, SAP Technical Lead at Snohomish County PUD.
“The combined Advantco solution has exceeded our expectations. It really was quick and simple to install and because of the native integration with our existing SAP Netweaver®, it is amazingly easy for all business units to use. We are confident that we have obtained the best solution in the market, and that it has helped us address industry demands and consumer concerns about the security of our data,” added Hurlbert.