In addition to October being Co-op Month, it is also National Cybersecurity Awareness Month. I’d like to take time to let you know what JOEMC is doing to keep your information safe and electricity reliable.
In an increasingly digitally interconnected world, cybersecurity is a top priority for your cooperative and the electric utility industry as a whole. Technology has improved nearly every segment of daily life, including a smarter grid but along with the
benefits comes the need to safeguard member information and power grid operations.
At JOEMC we have a comprehensive cybersecurity strategy that begins with three key initiatives:
- Secure Member Data: Our member’s personal data is very important to us. For instance, JOEMC does not store credit card data. When
members elect to save it, we use a process called “tokenization”
to identify the card number using a unique code known only to us and the payment processor. The card number is never saved/stored on our systems.
- Secure Our Systems: Jones-Onslow maintains a multitude of unique systems to offer services and reliable electricity to our members. Each system comes with a new set of cyber risks. We mitigate cybersecurity risks by employing a multi-layered “zero trust” approach; utilizing technology such as firewalls and intrusion protection systems. We also leverage third-party cybersecurity firms to analyze our networks and systems in real-time — protecting and alerting our IT department of abnormalities 24 hours a day.
- Secure The Grid: As the electric grid evolves with technology, the new ‘smart grid’ brings a whole new set of cyber risks. JOEMC’s multi-layered approach to cybersecurity, along with physical security measures, protects our grid that serves each one of you. Ensuring the lights stay on is the top priority for our linemen AND every other employee at the co-op.
Cybersecurity is a never-ending job. Criminal hackers and other threats, combined with fast-paced technology advances, make cybersecurity like the Wild West! It’s a rapidly changing world and we must adapt and evolve with adversaries coming from all around the world.
We believe the best defense is a strong offense, especially when it comes to cybersecurity. I can assure you that JOEMC is well prepared and constantly hardening our cybersecurity initiatives to ensure the protection of member information, your cooperative, and the electric grid from cyber threats.