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NERC's Cauley: Enhanced cyber security laws needed

SUBNET Solutions Inc | Thursday, June 16, 2011

In a recent testimony he gave regarding the nation's power supply network, North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) president Gerry Cauley addressed concerns regarding the safeguarding of the developing smart grid network.

During his prepared remarks, Cauley told policymakers in Washington that NERC works with a number of government agencies like the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to ensure that proper smart grid security protocols are implemented and enforced. Currently, NERC's critical infrastructure protection (CIP) reliability standards have been approved by FERC, and Cauley said that they should be enhanced - instead of preempted - by cyber security laws.

Furthermore, Cauley affirmed that more information sharing is needed between government organizations and private sector businesses. NERC, which is not a government agency, advocates for the de-classifying of certain information that it considers "key data" that could be made available to industry decision makers. Such a move would improve cyber security protocols, Cauley said.

With the emphasis on digital technology and investment into the smart grid increasing, Cauley said that cyber security protection standards must be enhanced.

"Much like the defense of this country, the defense of the bulk power system requires constant vigilance and expertise," Cauley said. 

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