Nice Open Management Platform Complies with Critical Infrastructure Regulations

Nice Systems, a provider of intent-based solutions that extract insight to impact business performance, reduce financial risk and ensure safety and security, introduced Nice Situator for Electric Utilities. The new offering, based on the Nice open platform situation management solution, helps electric utilities meet the critical challenges of improving compliance, particularly with respect to the North American Electric Reliability Council's Regulations on Protecting Critical Infrastructure (NERC CIP), increasing the effectiveness of their security operations, and reducing operational costs. The new Nice solution includes prebuilt content based on industry-specific best practices. Nice also offers unique professional services for optimizing the utility's situation management capabilities and overall security operations by identifying risk and developing policies and procedures and “Concept of Operation.”

One of the main challenges being faced by electric utilities in the U.S. is ensuring effective security operations that can handle incidents in real time, with limited resources across hundreds of sites that are often equipped with thousands of monitored sensors and multiple disparate security and safety systems, including video, access control, perimeter intruder detection systems, audio recording and fire alarms. Being able to identify a threat or a problem in real time and to handle it effectively and efficiently is crucial. In addition, performing continuous reporting after the fact is tedious and time-consuming. Ensuring that policies and procedures are being followed uniformly across the utility's operations with limited budgets and manpower is extremely difficult.

Another challenge being faced by North American utilities in the US, Canada and Mexico is ensuring full compliance with The NERC CIP reliability standards for ensuring the physical security of critical cyber assets that control or effect the reliability of bulk electric systems. Noncompliance can result in fines as high as US$1 million per day per violation, based on incident severity and a number of risk factors.

Mike Dunn, founder of GMD Security Consulting Services and former manager of security at American Electric Power, said, “With heightened security threats, reduced budgets and ever-increasing compliance pressures, electric utilities today are faced with great challenges. Firms that implement a situation management solution which helps them consolidate 24/7 monitoring of disparate existing security systems, prescribe immediate response to event alarms, and automate documentation of response for future audit purposes, are best positioned to ensure an effective and efficient security operation, whether dealing with access violations, visitor management, outage management, systems maintenance/testing, or policy reviews.”

Nice Situator enables efficient end-to-end handling of the incident's full life cycle, by automatically triggering alerts, providing security personnel real-time guidance on required and optimal procedures, and enabling them later to retrieve the incident log along with all the supporting information for a complete and comprehensive report which includes when and where the alert had occurred, the relevant video and audio files, screen recordings, and logs from multiple third-party security systems.

“We are excited to launch Nice Situator for Electric Utilities, and enable these firms to ensure an effective and efficient security operation, while achieving full compliance with the stringent requirements of NERC CIP,” said Israel Livnat, President, Nice Security Group. “We worked closely with industry experts to tailor the Nice solution to the specific needs of this market, providing a solution with procedures, forms, and business rules that are based on best practices as well as our extensive experience in deploying diverse compliance solutions for organizations across a broad variety of vertical industries all over the world. The complete package of unique capabilities, advanced technology and domain expertise makes Nice Situator the premier choice for electric utilities.”
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