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FERC proposes to adopt NERC Version 5 cybersecurity standards


From the April 19, 2013 issue of Public Power Daily

Originally published April 19, 2013

By Robert Varela
Editorial Director
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission voted yesterday to issue a proposed rule to adopt "Version 5" of the North American Electric Reliability Corp.’s cybersecurity standards for critical infrastructure protection (CIP). The commission is seeking comments on certain language in the proposed standards that commissioners said was ambiguous and could be unenforceable. 

The commission also proposed to approve NERC’s implementation plan. Under NERC’s plan, the CIP Version 4 standards will be retired prior to mandatory compliance and entities subject to the standards will transition directly from the CIP Version 3 Standards to compliance with CIP Version 5. However, the commission is asking for comments on whether the 24-month and 36-month implementation periods proposed by NERC for the Version 5 standards are necessary, and what activities are required to effect the transition during the proposed implementation periods.

The proposal includes 12 requirements with new cybersecurity controls that address electronic security perimeters, systems security management, incident reporting and response planning, recovery plans for bulk electric system cyber systems, and configuration change management and vulnerability assessments. It also would use a new, tiered approach to identifying and classifying bulk electric system cyber assets "that is a step toward applying CIP protections more comprehensively to better assure protection of the bulk electric system," the commission said. 

Comments on the proposed rule are due 60 days after it is published in the Federal Register.

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Senior Vice President, Publishing 
Jeanne Wickline LaBella
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