Energy and Utility companies play an extremely important role in the national security of our country and the safety of its citizens. To protect our existing national energy infrastructure, these entities must be strictly maintained and regulated. If these systems were to fail, the damage done would be considerably more catastrophic than a typical power outage. As a result of this serious vulnerability, it is imperative that all entities in the energy or utility sectors remain NERC CIP-compliant. These mandatory NERC CIP compliance requirements also dictate that all employees undergo NERC CIP background screenings.

What is NERC?

In operation since the 1960s, the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) is an international, not-for-profit organization whose sole purpose is to ensure the reliability of our power grid, also known as the Bulk Electric System (BES).

What is NERC’s CIP?

NERC’s critical infrastructure plan consists of nine standards and 45 requirements which apply to the safety and security of our electronic perimeters, as well as the protection of various critical cyber assets. These NERC CIP compliance requirements and standards also apply to personnel screening, training, security management, and disaster recovery planning.

What is NERC CIP Background Screening?

The NERC Standard CIP-004-03a refers to “Cyber Security – Personnel & Training.” In part, this particular standard dictates that all personnel, including vendors or contractors, who have either authorized cyber access or unescorted physical access to various critical cyber assets have undergone the appropriate degree of risk assessment. At a minimum, this NERC CIP-compliant personnel risk assessment should include identity verification and at least a seven-year criminal record check. It also dictates that utility or energy personnel risk assessments are updated every seven years, at minimum, and that all findings are properly documented.

Considering the need for mandatory NERC compliance, it makes sense to trust your NERC background check needs to a trusted background check company such as PSI Background Screening. A trusted background check agency can provide you with uniform screening for all current and future energy industry personnel, including vendors and contractors. We can also tailor NERC background check packages to your specific needs. We don’t just perform the bare minimum checks of identity and criminal history—we can also include checks on their employment history, verify their past education, and much more. To learn more about how PSI Background Screening can help you get a NERC CIP certification, contact one of our courteous professionals today.

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