Under the NERC CIP, covered businesses must identify essential assets and conduct a risk analysis on them on a regular basis. Policies for monitoring and altering the configuration of important assets, as well as access to those assets, must be defined. It is a self-regulatory body that is independent, nonprofit, and has been designated as the Electric Reliability Organization (ERO) in the United States. Approximately 1,900 operators and owners are members of NERC, and they service over 334 million people.
NERC CIP Compliance also mandates the use of firewalls to block susceptible ports and the implementation of cyber attack monitoring software. IT rules that protect access to important cyber assets must also be enforced by organizations. Organizations must have thorough contingency plans for cyber attacks, natural catastrophes, and other unanticipated events, as well as systems for monitoring security events.
What is NERC CIP?
The NERC CIP (North American Electric Reliability Corporation critical infrastructure protection) plan is a collection of guidelines for safeguarding the assets needed to run North America’s bulk electric system.
The NERC CIP plan consists of nine standards and 45 requirements that include electronic perimeter security, critical cyber asset protection, personnel and training, security management, and disaster recovery planning, among other topics.
All of NERC’s efforts to improve the security of the North American power grid are coordinated through the CIP program. Standards creation, compliance enforcement, risk and preparation assessments, the dissemination of vital information, and increased knowledge about significant security issues are all part of these activities.
Fines, sanctions, and other actions against covered entities may be imposed for noncompliance with the NERC CIP. The specific penalties differ from country to country because NERC is a transnational organization.
The Need for NERC CIP
All NERC-approved Reliability Standards must be followed by any company that owns, runs, or uses any sort of bulk electric power system. Any of these companies must register with NERC via the appropriate Regional Entity.
To guarantee consistent and effective power to all recipients, NERC CIP and its regional organizations take compliance very seriously. To monitor, assess, and enforce uniform compliance, they use Compliance Monitoring and an Enforcement Program. Your company, as a Registered Entity, may be audited or spot-checked at any time for compliance with all Reliability Standards that apply to you. This means that you must maintain vigilance in your compliance activities at all times.
The NERC has established a set of NERC Sanction Guidelines, which include monetary sanctions that can exceed six figures depending on the type and severity of the infringement. Pressure is high in this sector, and as you know, it is unavoidable. It’s a great burden when a vast continent relies on you as part of the electricity grid.
Benefits of NERC CIP
- The goal of NERC standards is to provide guidance and assurance in the generation and delivery of bulk electrical services.
- The more than 1,900 operators are held to the same standards, ensuring that best practices are communicated and followed uniformly.
- Across interconnected areas and international borders, a unifying goal is to engage behaviors and systems for reliability in generation, distribution, and operations.
- Although NERC compliance does not guarantee that critical infrastructure is risk-free, it does help to reduce disruptions in electrical service delivery.
Because the generation and transport of bulk energy are considered critical infrastructure operations, NERC has established rules to avoid and minimize damage in the case of system disruptions.
New boards, programs, and organizations have been created to influence, administrate, control, and enhance the reliability of the North American energy system. NERC helps to coordinate and oversee these institutions, and it even participates in some of them.