White House to work with utilities on tool to find cybersecurity gaps

The initiative, called the Electric Sector Cybersecurity Risk Management Maturity project, 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 used by other sectors to improve performance, efficiency, and quality.

“Gaining knowledge about strengths and remaining gaps across the grid will better inform investment planning and research and development, and enhance our public-private partnership efforts”, said White House Cybersecurity Coordinator Howard Schmidt.

Over the next several months, the Energy Department plans to hold workshops with the private sector to draft a maturity model that can be used throughout the electricity sector. More than a dozen utilities and grid operators are expected to participate in the pilot program to test the model, assess its effectiveness, and validate results.

The pilot program will help develop a risk management maturity model that is expected to be made available to the electric sector later this summer.

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