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DOE seeks comprehensive cybersecurity model for electric grid

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Deputy Secretary of Energy Dan Poneman, White House Cybersecurity Coordinator Howard Schmidt, senior Homeland Security Department officials and more than two dozen electric-sector executives met Jan. 5 in the first of several DOE-hosted meetings and workshops to draft a cybersecurity "maturity model" designed to protect the electric grid. The department expects a final model to be delivered late summer 2012.

The maturity model will include "performance-based strategies and concrete steps" for energy companies to measure their current capabilities and analyze cybersecurity gaps, said Schmidt in a Jan. 5 DOE statement.

"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," according to the DOE statement.

Maturity model implementation will be tested through a pilot, which DOE says it expects more than a dozen electric utilities and grid operators to participate. Schmidt was encouraged by the "impressive number" of industry participants in the first meeting, he wrote in a Jan. 9 post on the White House blog, which reaffirmed for him stakeholders' desire to bridge remaining cyber gaps.

For more:
- see the White House blog post
- see the DOE press release

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