The North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) was created in 1968 to bring reliability to the bulk power system. NERC defines Critical Infrastructure Protection (CIP) as “the implementation of security activities to ensure the integrity of control systems, assets, and information.” Complying with NERC is a regulatory requirement and is the sole responsibility of every system owner. That’s why most businesses use this nerc cip compliance software to guide them through this complex process.
How Can I Comply With NERC
System owners can comply with NERC by having a system-wide risk assessment done every two years, having a business continuity plan in place, and implementing regular security awareness training. You also want to make sure you’ve got clear emergency response plans for everything, including cyberattacks, data loss prevention, and malware detection. So it can get pretty technical. But the general idea is to have a secure system with all of its assets protected from vulnerabilities and cyber threats.
Why Does NERC CIP Compliance Matter for Your Business?
NERC CIP Compliance shows that your business is doing all it can to keep the infrastructure secure from breaches and compromises. This is important because if there is a cyber event, the business should resume operations promptly. And, doing a NERC compliance audit is a great way to make sure that you’re using the latest security practices for your industry.
Ideally, you want to be ahead of the curve and be prepared for any type of attack, whether it’s a natural disaster or an intentional hack attempt. And NERC compliance is a good way to make sure that doesn’t happen.
Examples of Non-compliance With the Regulation
Non-compliance with the regulation can be seen in the following instances:
- Cases where a company has a compliance plan but does not submit it to the NERC.
- Violations in the NERC CIP Compliance Program, which include providing inaccurate information and not reporting a security incident.
- Listing false assets as part of your network.
- Cases where a company uses an unapproved third party for completing security audits.
What Are the Consequences of Non-Compliance?
The penalties for non-compliance can range from a slap on the wrist to fines in the millions. Typically, penalties are issued as an amount based on the number of violations and the severity of the situation.
For example, businesses in the finance industry are at a higher risk for cyberattacks and may need to be more compliant than others. Each violation could lead to an $11,000 fine, but it can go to $55,000 per violation if found with more than one offense in a year.
How Can NERC CIP Compliance Software Help?
NERC CIP Compliance Software helps businesses protect their critical infrastructure by giving them access to cyber-security best practices, monitoring tools, and automation that can be applied to a set of processes. That means you can automate your CIP compliance processes so that you don’t have to worry about missing key steps.
Another advantage is that most NERC CIP compliance software is cloud-based, so you can use it to keep track of your compliance status at any time. They also come with tools for asset management, compliance reporting, and cyber assessment, which should make compliance easier.
What Are the Types of NERC Certification?
Essentially, there are two types of NERC certifications: Compliance and Security.
Compliance certification ensures that a system complies with the requirements for power generation. This includes physical security policies and cybersecurity technical measures like firewalls, intrusion prevention systems, and encryption.
NERC Security certification takes it up a notch and looks at the entire power generation system. It evaluates the environment with a vulnerability scan, penetration tests, and probing security processes of a business. Security certification is also considered to be more difficult to achieve because it requires third-party evaluations.
Common Misconceptions About NERC CIP
Some people believe that having a compliance plan is the same thing as complying. In reality, most companies cannot meet requirements because they don’t understand how to make their plan actionable.
Also, compliance plans are not all the same and should be customized based on the actual situation. For example, requirements for the finance industry differ from those of manufacturing or healthcare.
Finally, some people think that being NERC compliant is only for power companies. But, any company that meets NERC’s definition of critical infrastructure falls under the regulation. And since most industries increasingly depend on technologies for their business operations, it is likely that your company falls under this definition.