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Achieving Compliance In The Smart Grid

In the energy business, strict compliance mandates could be all that stands between business as usual and a catastrophic, long-term power outage

[Excerpted from "Achieving Compliance In The Smart Grid," a new report published this week in Dark Reading's Compliance Tech Center.]

Every industry poses a unique set of challenges for security pros, but of all the industry verticals that we interact with on a daily basis, can you think of one more important or vital to our national security interests than the energy sector? An abrupt, large-scale power outage would be devastating, causing significant loss of life and billions of dollars in damages. That's why compliance in this arena is so important.

While the Bulk Electric System (BES) is particularly vulnerable, any utility that’s controlled by IP-connected SCADA systems is potentially vulnerable to manipulation or attack with catastrophic effects. The Critical Infrastructure Protection (CIP) reliability standards define the cybersecurity-related aspects of how BES providers must protect their systems to maintain the reliability of the grid.

As compliance mandates go, CIP is one of the most stringent and labor-intensive you will come up against. With that said, CIP is also a treasure trove of best practices even if you work outside of the energy space. CIP is split into nine core sections, each including a mandate. The sections that specifically pertain to smart grid cybersecurity are CIP-002 through CIP-009.

For a deeper look at all of the security-related CIP requirements -- and best practices for complying with each of them -- download the free report on NERC/CIP compliance.

Have a comment on this story? Please click "Add a Comment" below. If you'd like to contact Dark Reading's editors directly, send us a message.

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