Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Next Gen NERC CIPs Taking Shape in early 2011

Previous posts have tried to give readers a hint at what lies beyond the veil re: versions 4 and 5 of the NERC CIPs. More scuttlebutt has been arriving over the past week or so; heard it through the NERC Standards Development Team (SDT) grapevine. As always, please consume this forward looking stuff with a grain or two of NaCl:
  • The SDT has decided to leave the impact levels as they originally were designed based on FERC’s request to do so in version 5 of the CIP rules
  • This means there will be high, medium and low impact levels
  • Encryption will be a requirement in version 5 for all medium and high impact systems
  • Utilities will have a few years to implement new version 5 controls since version 5 won’t go into effect until mid 2013 or so. 
  • It is estimated that there will be an additional 20-40 new measurements that the medium and high impact systems will have to incorporate…uncertain on what those are going to be at this point
  • And this train has been coming for some time now: the terminology for CIP-002 will change from “Risk Based Assessment Methodology” to “Bright-Line Criteria”
Since January 2008's final ruling by FERC on Order No. 706, the industry has been moving, not necessarily steadily or with great speed, towards a more robust articulation of security standards in each subsequent version of the CIPs. From the cyber security practitioner's point of view, it appears the sector is going to be in a stronger position in a few years. Here's to holding it together until then.

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