Yes, implementing a good NERC compliance management package helps you manage your compliance data so audits can go smoothly. However, choosing a NERC CIP compliance management software solution that integrates and helps operationalize key tasks gives you the opportunity to improve overall enterprise security. There are many key security-related processes that NERC CIP requires you to track. This can be done manually – frankly providing little real value other than satisfying paper pushers – or it can be done by integrating a good NERC CIP software solution with your security products. Integration provides real-time, operational value and improves your overall security posture.
By integrating a File Integrity Monitoring (FIM) agent into the configuration and change management process of a good NERC compliance management software platform, unapproved changes can be caught quickly improving overall security. For example, malware that’s gone undetected could make malicious file changes that aren’t caught. A good NERC CIP software package can identify that it’s an unapproved change and alert the operations staff that a potential problem exists.
Also consider key security processes such as patch management and event log management. NERC requires that you track these processes and provide evidence that you are periodically ensuring patches are evaluated and implemented and that you’re looking at event logs. But integrating patch and log management security products with a NERC compliance management software platform gives you a near real-time view of patches and events by asset along with historical evidence. Yes this makes the NERC CIP audit go more smoothly, but is also improves security by providing alerts when there is anomalous patch or log behavior for an asset.
Don’t look at the NERC CIP requirements as being a burden. Rather, take the opportunity to improve your overall security by choosing a NERC CIP software package that integrates with operational security products and improves your overall security program.