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Moving Forward with the Electric Sector Cybersecurity Risk Management Maturity Initiative

January 20, 2012 - 10:28am

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Since the January 5, 2012 launch of the “Electric Sector Cybersecurity Risk Management Maturity” program, a White House initiative led by the Department of Energy in partnership with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to create a more comprehensive and consistent approach to protecting the nation’s electric grid against cyber attacks, we have seen a tremendous response from the electric sector. More and more companies are stepping forward, saying they want to participate. 

We are capitalizing on the growing momentum in several ways.  One of our next steps is to choose a group of utilities that is representative of the industry in terms of size, functional areas and categories (e.g., ISO/RTO, IOU, public power, rural, coop) for the pilot. The pilot assessments will be conducted in April and will be scenario-based and facilitated. We expect the assessments to require only one day. We also need to identify the subject matter experts (SMEs) who will advise the team on specific knowledge areas such as cybersecurity, business operations, business systems, control systems, and communications networks. Beginning in February, the expected time commitment will be about 4 hours per week to review and provide feedback on the model, and may also include participation in working sessions in February and March.

Our intent is to make this process as manageable as possible for everyone involved and, at the same time, keep the initiative moving forward. Organizations that want to provide SMEs or participate in the pilot should contact us via email with the following information: 

  • Type of participation – Pilot, SME, or both
  • Organizational point of contact information
  • Short descriptions of SME expertise (if applicable)

Our goals are ambitious, and our timeframe is admittedly short. Now is the time to understand the impact of our efforts on overall cybersecurity so that, as we move forward, we can better understand existing strengths and gaps and make informed decisions about what is needed to secure the critical assets of the electric grid. 

As we move forward with the initiative, we will post periodic updates on the Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability website. If your organization is interested in receiving updates via email, please contact us at oe-escyberpilot@hq.doe.gov.
 

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