Version 5 of NERC CIP: Full Details


Version 5 of NERC CIP: Full Details

Version 5 of NERC CIP: Full Details of the standards represents the first significant change in requirements and approach since Urgent Action Standard 1200 was approved over a decade ago. The most remarkable change is the tiered rating system. This categorizes Bulk Electric System (BES) into High, Medium, and Low categories.

We have mentioned important aspects of Version 5 to help you better understand them. Take a look. 

Version 5 of NERC CIP: Full Details

Awareness for Security

Each individual in an organization is responsible for the facility’s security. Security attacks often exploit personnel who don’t know or ignore basic security precautions. CIP Version 5 mandates the implementation of programs to increase security awareness and reinforce security precautions. This program is required to be developed and implemented by low-impact systems.

An organization should have a security awareness program that is applicable across all departments. All employees don’t need to receive the same awareness messages, but the program must be designed and implemented so that everyone in the organization will likely receive them. These messages can be used to raise security awareness in general areas of an organization.

For instance, tips on choosing and using strong passwords can help you comply with password policies and decrease the chance of passwords being stolen. 

Email security is another important aspect you need to consider. A general understanding of the risks associated with email can significantly reduce the likelihood or, at minimum, the frequency of successful intrusions using this method.

Physical Security

Physical security is the second area of concern and requires policy action. This control is crucial to any digital system’s overall security. An attacker who gains physical access to any computer system or electronic device can immediately compromise the system. 

The attacker can also gain physical access to network ports and communication media to intercept, interfere, or inject messages onto a network. This can lead to catastrophic results in control environments.

So, you need to make sure that only those employees who need access to the BES Cyber System and associated networks should have access. To enforce access restrictions and detect unauthorized access, physical security controls should be in place. These controls can be either preventive or detective. 

Preventive controls are used to stop unauthorized access. You can use fences, walls, and doors to prevent unauthorized access. Detective controls are used to highlight the possibility of unauthorized access and activate the appropriate response procedure. Alarm systems, guard patrols, and video surveillance can be some examples.


Remote Access Connections

Remote electronic access is one of the most important reasons cybersecurity is so significant today. Every system connected to the internet, even indirectly through multiple systems or networks, is at risk of being compromised by hackers.

While attacks can be carried out locally by anyone with physical access to the system, such attacks are possible only because of the weakness of the network connectivity. Remote connectivity to systems also increases the number of potential attackers while simultaneously reducing the cost, difficulty, and risk that an attacker must overcome.

There are mainly three options for remote connections: dial-up, serial connections, and wide-area networking. They may be used for legitimate business purposes, such as remote access, vendor support, operational control, or business partner communications. 

To reduce the chance of intrusions and quickly detect and respond to any that occur, a good CIP Version 5 process requires such connections to be monitored and controlled.

Incident Response

Even with the best efforts of organizations to secure their cyber assets, it is possible for attacks to occur, at the most occasionally.

Organizations must be prepared to respond appropriately to such events because the potential financial costs of equipment malfunctions can be enormous and because the longer a security breach is unaddressed, the greater the potential damage not only to an individual facility but also to other facilities and the interconnected grid.

To effectively manage intrusions and other cybersecurity incidents, incident response plans must be developed. These plans should be used to identify and train personnel responsible for initial response, investigation, and containment. Notification and escalation procedures should also be provided to senior management, legal, and communications staff.

Final Word

It is important to understand all the compliance standards to ensure the optimum security of your facility. Proven compliance solutions can help you better understand the compliances and prepare for audits. 



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