Washington, DC, U.S.A. — (METERING.COM) — January 10, 2012 – A new White House initiative to further protect the electrical grid from cyber attacks was launched in the United States last week by energy secretary Steven Chu.
The Electric Sector Cybersecurity Risk Management Maturity project, led by the Department of Energy in partnership with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), will leverage the insight of private industry and public sector experts to build on existing cybersecurity measures and strategies to create a more comprehensive and consistent approach to protecting the nation’s energy delivery system.
The initiative will develop a “maturity model” that allows utility companies and grid operators to measure their current capabilities and analyze gaps in their cyber defenses. Maturity models, which rely on best practices to identify an organization’s strengths and weaknesses, are widely used by other sectors to improve performance, efficiency and quality.
“This initiative is another important step forward in improving the security of the nation’s energy infrastructure and ensuring that the country’s electrical systems remain secure, reliable and resilient,” said Secretary Chu. “Establishing a comprehensive cybersecurity approach will give utility companies and grid operators another important tool to improve the grid’s ability to respond to cybersecurity risks.”
Over the next several months, the Department will host a series of workshops with the private sector to draft the maturity model.
More than a dozen electric utilities and grid operators are expected to participate in the pilot program to test the maturity model, assess its effectiveness and validate results. This public-private partnership and pilot program will help develop a risk management maturity model that is expected to be made available to the electric sector later this summer.