Message From CEO Steve Marlow
You've heard the stories about credit and debit card information being stolen while shopping at big-name retailers such as Target and Home Depot. You’ve likely taken steps to protect your data and private information from online hackers or from callers trying to capture your credit card information through a scam. You know you must be constantly alert and mindful of potentially unsecured situations in order to keep personal information safe.
Just as you need to protect your own data and information from hackers, East-Central Iowa REC faces those same challenges with data and protecting the power grid from attempts to disrupt service. ECI REC is at work around the clock, 365 days a year, to protect our members and the infrastructure that allows us to provide essential electricity.
Protecting From Disruptions
In an era of terrorism and natural disasters, electric cooperatives in every state, county, and community—no matter how large or how small—must protect their equipment and electrical system from possible sources of disruption. ECI REC does this while also ensuring an affordable, reliable, and secure energy supply.
Cybersecurity has become a household word. From hearing of hacked emails to major power outages in other countries, cybersecurity is something ECI REC takes very seriously. We’re committed to protecting our members at every point along our power lines.
Working Together to Protect our Systems
How do we protect ECI REC? It revolves around creating a constant culture of cybersecurity awareness among our locally elected Board of Directors, cooperative employees, and members. We have robust policies and processes in place to fast-track responses to problems—should they arise—before a potential incident can spiral into a bigger situation.
When it comes to cybersecurity, we know that there is no one-size-fits-all approach. Through our statewide and national electric cooperative associations, we work with cooperative members, industry partners, and government agencies to develop effective approaches to protecting our members’ access to affordable, reliable, and secure electricity.
In our communities, ECI REC stays alert so that we can quickly identify and act on potential security issues. We ask our members to be mindful of unusual situations and to immediately report them to us or local authorities. For example, if you see non-cooperative personnel near a substation, that’s noteworthy and should be reported. Cybercrime comes in all forms—those we can witness and those that happen remotely from faraway locations.
Grid security is not a new challenge. ECI REC has decades of experience working together with other industry professionals to protect our shared infrastructure, and we are constantly reevaluating threats and taking steps to protect the system.
The importance of electricity in our daily lives is something we don’t take for granted. We know that it’s impossible to entirely eliminate cyber issues from our daily lives. But what we can do is implement due diligence into every aspect of our business culture.
We remind you that if you see something, say something. We’re united through our cooperative structure, and both our safety and your safety is everyone’s job!