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FERC is seeking comments to improve cybersecurity protections for the Electric Grid

image credit: Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

On 6/18/2020 the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) published a white paper requesting comments on possible voluntary cybersecurity enhancements to augment NERC CIP standards by applying the NIST Cybersecurity Framework (NIST CSF) for cyber controls that would bolster protections for the grid, over and above the NERC standards. The proposal suggest that parties that implement these expanded NIST CSF controls may be eligible for an incentive of 200 basis points for their efforts and investments. On 6/30/2020 Reliable Energy Analytics, LLC filed comments with FERC supporting the proposal contained in the white paper. 

Richard Brooks's picture

Thank Richard for the Post!

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Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Jun 30, 2020 9:09 pm GMT

What's your take on the effectiveness of voluntary enhancements vs. making the mandatory minimum stronger, Richard?

Richard Brooks's picture
Richard Brooks on Jun 30, 2020 10:08 pm GMT

Matt, I think FERC says it best in their white paper with regards to NERC CIP standards: "Standards do not necessarily require entities to employ best practices. Moreover, the standards development process does not lend itself to addressing rapidly evolving cybersecurity threats. It can take many months for a new standard to be developed, and once approved, it may be several more months or years before fully implemented and enforceable".

Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Jul 1, 2020 11:54 am GMT

That's a great point, thanks for sharing that. I suppose when those voluntary standards exist, then by sheer force of peer pressure where competitors are then all in alignment it would make other entities that choose to cut corners stick out like a sore thumb

Richard Brooks's picture
Richard Brooks on Jul 1, 2020 12:42 pm GMT

I like FERC's idea to pay an interest rate of 2% on any investment in cybersecurity controls for grid operations. I think some people will find this incentive attractive. My FERC filing on docket AD20-19-000 contains a prototype demonstration of a project that may be worthy of FERC approval as a voluntary standard that is eligible to receive the 2%.

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