For utility organizations, maintaining NERC CIP compliance is an ongoing challenge. Audit-readiness isn’t a once-and-done activity, it’s something that you must operationalize through continuous processes and improvements, every day, every month, and every year. This would be true even if NERC standards and requirements stayed the same – you still need to keep up with changes within your own organization – but of course, they don’t. NERC regulations change constantly, and it’s your responsibility to change with them.
In our last blog, we discussed one of the less technical (but still critical) benefits of an automated workflow solution: how to create a culture of compliance. Today, we’ll go in a more tactical direction: how SigmaFlow enhances your NERC compliance capabilities with integrated baseline validation.
Many utilities use a solution like our partner Tripwire to collect the “as provisioned” ports and services data on their systems and cyber assets. This provisioned data monitoring provides clear visibility into the state of your infrastructure – what ports are open, what services are on them, what software patches are installed etc. Solutions like Tripwire streamline the process of creating and managing your baseline, but on their own, don’t facilitate the ability to take action on the data.
Ensuring that your organization is compliant with NERC regulations starts with defining your policies and procedures. This may happen internally, within your IT or compliance department, or you may work with a consulting firm to help get all of the required tasks and workflows identified, defined, and literally and figuratively down on paper. This policy and procedure definition process is critical to NERC compliance – but it’s also just the beginning.
We admit it: NERC compliance is a pretty complex topic. But it’s also an important one, critical to both your business’s day-to-day operations and overall risk management. It may not be fun, it may not be exciting, but it’s necessary. You don’t get to decide whether or not to comply with NERC regulations, but you do get to decide how to go about it.
We’re excited to share the experience of a customer who did just that: took their NERC compliance processes and workflows into their own hands to the benefit of their business.
So far in this blog series, we’ve covered NERC compliance and the capabilities of compliance management solutions at increasing levels of sophistication. We started with streamlining the day-to-day, from change management to evidence collection to PRAs, RSAWs, and all the rest of the required policies and procedures. Part 2 moved into KPIs and the power of aggregate reports. We uncovered the opportunities inherent in the mountains of data generated by complying with NERC requirements, and broke that data down into three categories that provide visibility into the health of your compliance program.
If your business runs a compliance management solution, there’s a good chance you purchased it to do exactly that: help you monitor, manage, and measure the tasks and activities related to following compliance regulations. This is no small feat. In part one of this series, we reviewed all the challenges compliance managers face keeping up with NERC, and in part 2, the various KPIs that can help you better wrangle your compliance processes. Your compliance management solution is key to solving those challenges and keeping those day-to-day KPIs on track.