As the deadline for NERC CIP compliance draws near, GarrettCom, Inc. has announced enhanced features for its CrossBow NERC CIP Solution, including enhanced server redundancy; additional options for meeting requirements for system backup and recovery; and easier management and administration for NERC CIP reporting and scheduling requirements.

A core component to the enhanced solution is the newly released CrossBow 3 Secure Access Manager from Bow Networks. GarrettCom is the exclusive distributor of CrossBow software to power utilities in North America.

Among the new features are:

  • Additional redundancy and database mirroring options via a move to Microsoft's SQL Server database, to provide enhanced uptime and additional tools for meeting CIP-009 requirements for system availability and recovery.
  • End user interface enhancements that allow users to organize authorized IEDs in easily accessed user-defined graphical directories.
  • Enhanced password administration to automate password updates across a large community of IEDs or other Critical Cyber Assets (CCAs). NERC CIP requires periodically updating device passwords, and the populations of IEDs and other critical Cyber Assets (CCAs) such as Magnum DX router/firewalls in substations may number in the thousands, making automated update tools a necessary administrative aid.
  • New event scheduler capabilities to facilitate collection, archival, and review of files from remote systems, and to automate the centralization of event records in a common database. For example, CrossBow will automatically consolidate security and activity event records from distributed Magnum DX routers with stateful firewall and Virtual Private Network features to enable auditing of substation Electronic Security Perimeter effectiveness.
  • Simplified reporting schemes that provide a range of tools that will satisfy CIP requirements in an automated manner.

"Meeting the initial CIP compliance deadline is not the end of the process," said John Shaw, Executive Vice President of GarrettCom. "Utilities are looking beyond that deadline to the ongoing administrative processes and the need for solutions that make 'life under CIP' simpler and less intrusive. CrossBow 3 shows our commitment along with Bow Networks to focus on both ease of implementation and ongoing use."