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NERC releases data on fines issued in December 2011

SUBNET Solutions Inc | Thursday, January 19, 2012

In order to ensure the reliability of the bulk power system in North America, the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) has established a fair and consistent measure of enforcing compliance with its standards. Each month, NERC compiles fines issued from the previous month and displays the infractions in order to provide information on common enforcement actions the corporation is taking.

NERC hopes the most important takeaway from displaying the notices is that "reliability will be improved across the continent as a result of the proactive efforts to prevent future system disturbances."

All enforcement comes with the correction of the identified issues that failed to meet mandatory NERC standards. By the time the violation has been posted on its website, NERC says that efforts to address the reliability issues will have either been completed or in the process of being completed.

Under United States law, all of NERC's enforcement actions must be publicly filed with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).

In December, utilities from all over North America saw fines ranging from $2,500 to $650,000, with a large portion of the fines in the six-figure range. NERC's Notice of Penalties are sent to utilities and provide detailed descriptions of the standards that were violated.

NERC's program allows users, owners and operators recourse through an established due process that accomplishes fair and equal treatment for all bulk power system users, owners or operators. Compliance is assured through a number of audits and random spot checks, and if there are indications that a specific standard may have been violated, individual inspections may take place.

During the entire enforcement process, NERC remains committed to addressing critical reliability, hoping to work closely with users, owners or operators to review and resolve any issues that may compromise reliability.

Violations include NERC's critical infrastructure protection standard for Systems Security Management. This standard requires entities to define methods, processes and procedures for securing systems deemed Critical Cyber Assets.

SUBNET Solutions Inc. developed its My Passwords solution to assist electrical utilities in ensuring their new cyber assets and changes to existing cyber assets have no adverse effect on cyber security controls.

My Passwords automates the password management process for IEDs, helping you comply with NERC CIP. Manual password management quickly becomes a daunting task when you consider the multiple levels of authentication needed for every IED across hundreds or thousands of substations.

With My Passwords, you can make password changes at prescheduled times, or make password changes on demand or manually as required.

SUBNET's My Passwords can be integrated into existing corporate IT account policies, procedures and directories, ensuring that that road to compliance is efficient and hassle-free.

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The Complexities of Substation Cyber Security

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