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Cyber security

Imagine burglars trying to break into your home every hour of every day. Windows, doors, the roof, the chimney, the cellar – nothing is off limits. That’s essentially what we’re up against in keeping your information secure. 

We hear about devastating cyber security breaches on a regular basis in the news. Target, Yahoo and most recently Equifax have all been victims. A cyber security breach is one of the few threats that keeps me up at night.

Today’s technologies have helped us to improve how we serve you. Smart grid communications, SmartHub online account management and GIS location technology are more efficient and cost effective, but they come with a caveat.

Former FBI director Robert Muller put it quite bluntly when he said: “There are only two types of companies: Those that have been hacked and those that will be hacked.” We know the risk is real and prevalent and Tipmont is not immune. Passive security management won’t suffice anymore.

Over the last several months, we’ve completed a comprehensive cyber security audit. Just like we audit our financials, the cyber security audit probed every nook and cranny of our systems attempting to find vulnerabilities. I’m pleased to report that the auditors were not able to gain root access to our systems.

Fortunately, effective cyber security doesn’t require a colossal financial investment. We learned from our auditor that a strong culture of cybersecurity is paramount to keeping your information safe. Just like we focus on physical safety for our line crews (four years and counting with no lost time accidents!), a culture of awareness goes a long way toward preventing breaches. We held training sessions for every Tipmont employee earlier this year that covered password management, social engineering and physical security, such as remote laptops and smartphones.

October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month. A few resources you can visit to learn more about how you can protect yourself and your family include staysafeonline.org (National Cyber Security Alliance) and us-cert.gov (United Stated Computer Emergency Readiness Team). As always, if you have any questions about your membership, please call our Member Service department or reach out to me at ceo@tipmont.org.

Ron Holcomb

Ron Holcomb

Ron is a 30-year veteran of the electric utility industry with extensive experience in power supply, advanced grid technologies, essential service operations, economic development and value-driven growth initiatives for combined electric and telecommunication utilities. During his career, he has led three utilities as President/CEO and provided management consulting to utilities across the country. Ron joined Tipmont as CEO in summer 2013. He holds a B.S. in Physics from Austin Peay State University and an MBA from Murray State University.

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