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NERC CIP Consulting and Compliance Services

ICF partners with North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) Registered Entities in building and maturing NERC Critical Infrastructure Protection (CIP) programs that improve their cybersecurity postures and reduce compliance risk within operational, budgetary, and resource constraints.

ICF provides NERC CIP consulting and compliance services to electric utilities and Registered Entities with the ultimate objective of strengthening enterprise resilience through robust security practices and controls aligned with CIP Standards and Requirements. ICF recognizes that organizations face complex internal and external challenges in implementing and maintaining effective NERC CIP programs. Registered Entities must proactively manage NERC CIP programs and execute supporting cybersecurity practices to achieve compliance with the NERC CIP Standards.

Effective NERC CIP programs require management's support with the proper “tone at the top” that promotes a culture of compliance emphasizing adherence to the CIP Standards. ICF understands that Registered Entities face various internal challenges that increase compliance risk, such as legacy IT infrastructure, budgetary constraints, and a lack of skilled resources. To help overcome their internal challenges, ICF supports Registered Entities in developing standardized processes embedded with auditable security controls that minimize performance issues and program inefficiencies, and ultimately mitigate compliance risks.

Registered Entities face increasing external cyber risks from a more persistent threat environment, and increased compliance risk due to evolving NERC Reliability and CIP Standards. Registered Entities’ Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) and Industrial Control Systems (ICS) employ a network architecture that increases reliance on computer-based controls, potentially creating new vulnerabilities and elevating Registered Entities’ needs for cyber risk mitigation.

Meanwhile, the ongoing maturation of NERC Reliability and CIP Standards increases the compliance scope for Registered Entities’ operations and imposes more demanding cyber security requirements on existing IT infrastructure and resources. Without a strong NERC CIP program, Registered Entities weaken their ability to effectively respond to regulatory changes and resultantly increase the risk of:

  • Fines and penalties resulting from self-reports and regulatory settlements for noncompliance, system outages, and operations loss
  • Extrinsic risks such as the impairment of the organization’s public reputation and ability to uphold the reliability of critical infrastructure

To combat these external regulatory and cyber challenges, ICF supports Registered Entities in establishing and maturing self-sustaining NERC CIP programs that remediate cyber vulnerabilities, mitigate cyber threats, and enable efficient response to changes in regulatory requirements.

ICF consultants are equipped with the resources and expertise to confront the organizational and regulatory challenges facing Registered Entities. ICF’s NERC CIP advisory services draw upon industry experience, professional benchmarks, and cybersecurity best practices (e.g., COBIT, COSO, ISO, ITIL, NIST, SANS) to deliver prudent solutions that mitigate cyber risk while reducing compliance risk. Our consultants are certified professionals (e.g., CISA, CISSP, CRISC, PMP) with significant audit and advisory experience and possess deep knowledge of the electric utility industry’s regulatory environment.