Every month, CEO/General Manager Tony Mallory has a message for our members in Your Co-op Connection in Rural Missouri.
Looking out for our members
Cybersecurity systems in place
As I was working on this column for March, our area was under a winter storm warning. That was quite a coincidence because the topic I was thinking about was preparedness.
You may be aware that March is actually severe weather preparedness month in Missouri. The National Weather Service does a great job keeping the public aware of the various threats that Mother Nature can throw at us this time of year: tornadoes, lightning, snow, sleet, hail, high winds, and floods.
The list of natural disasters in Missouri usually doesn’t include hurricanes, wildfires or volcano eruptions. That’s OK – we don’t need additional severe-weather threats.
Being prepared for disasters is just what we do here at your electric cooperative. We’ve talked many times about what a great job our line workers do whenever there’s a power outage. We’ve also talked about how your co-op has been working to enhance our system reliability. Repairing wear and tear, upgrading equipment, and leveraging new data and communications tools all help us provide you with the high quality, resilient electric service you deserve.
Using technology and best practices also keeps our system secure from cybersecurity issues. This is just part of the normal course of business in today’s digital world.
In your own experience, I suspect you’ve encountered digital security. I know I have. Recently, I needed to make a change in my cell phone plan – but I needed a password to do so. Of course, I had forgotten my password, and it took quite a bit of effort to work with the company representative to verify my identity before we could move on. In the moment, such procedures can be frustrating. But I’m glad to know that that service provider was making the effort to guard my data.
Your co-op does the same. We’ve always been diligent about verifying identity before sharing information or making account changes. We also remain diligent about keeping sensitive information private. We’re always on the lookout for scammers, whether they’re in-person, on the phone or hiding in cyberspace.
Part of offering excellent service in today’s digital world means having robust digital strategies to keep your information secure. Now, I’m no IT expert, but I’m happy to say that we have talented experts on staff and available to us through our co-op connections.
We work together with co-ops across the country to develop new technologies for our industry, learn from each other, and keep the grid’s cyber network secure.
Locally, you may have noticed that “cybersecurity” is mentioned in just about every monthly board report. Among other things, we have systems in place to manage access, verify credentials and monitor our network. Employee training and third-party verification also help ensure we’re well positioned.
Of course, we can’t stop a storm or every possible disruption. But you can be confident that your co-op is looking out for you.