Maintaining Robust Cybersecurity

July 13, 2022

 • BY Ron Holcomb

Server racks at Wintek’s state-of-the-art data center in Lafayette
Server racks at Wintek’s state-of-the-art data center in Lafayette
Server racks at Wintek’s state-of-the-art data center in Lafayette
Server racks at Wintek’s state-of-the-art data center in Lafayette

Imagine preventing burglars from getting inside your home every hour of every day. Through windows and doors. The roof. The chimney. Even the cellar. Nothing is off limits, so they’ll try everything. And you have to defend every entry point. 

We all know about cybersecurity even if we don’t understand its ins and outs. The above is hardly a textbook definition of Tipmont Wintek’s efforts to establish robust cybersecurity. But that’s often how it feels to safeguard the security, comfort and convenience we provide from criminals behind computers. 

Effective cybersecurity demands vigilance and innovation, which means continual training, modernized systems and technology to enhance safety and reliability. Here’s a bit of how that looks at Tipmont. 

Although our electric and fiber broadband networks work in tandem to deliver power safely, effectively and efficiently, we maintain them separately and strategically limit entry points. Tipmont has also kept its electric supervisory system in-house. This means if anyone gains access to one portion of a power delivery system, they cannot then piggyback onto Tipmont’s network. 

Beyond that, it’s a layered approach, including firewalls to block unauthorized incoming traffic, systems to monitor suspicious activity, filters to monitor internal internet traffic to outside sources, and multifactor authentication. Perhaps you’ve heard of that last one. It requires something you know (like a password) and something you have (like a thumbprint). If one is compromised, a barrier remains to prevent unauthorized access. 

Tipmont also uses Essence, the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association’s tool for threat detection, for real-time visibility that helps us minimize blind spots. Meanwhile, our highly skilled staff also regularly trains under critical infrastructure standards of the North American Electric Reliability Corporation, which helps ensure effective, efficient reduction of risk to grid security and reliability. 

Maintaining and enhancing electric-grid security is a top priority for Tipmont. Every day, our IT experts work to keep bad actors out of our systems. 

RELIABILITY AMID RISING TEMPERATURES

As we’re in the thick of a summer forecast to be warmer than normal, you may have questions about the reliability of regional electric grids. 

We have some answers about the measures in place to protect our regional grid and how those managing the grid could address increased summer demand. Please visit tipmont.org/miso to learn more.

Ron Holcomb

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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 REMC 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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