Great River Energy earns national recognition for meeting cybersecurity goals - Great River Energy

Great River Energy earns national recognition for meeting cybersecurity goals

Utilities diligently protect electric infrastructure, such as substations, transmission lines and generation facilities. They also go to great lengths to protect critical data and systems.

Great River Energy was formally recognized as one of 20 electric cooperatives to complete 10 cybersecurity goals under the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association’s (NRECA) new voluntary program to help co-ops advance their cybersecurity posture. 

Great River Energy Director of Information Security Assurance Marc Child is a member of NRECA’s cybersecurity member advisory group, which helped develop the Co-op Cyber Goals Program to benefit cooperatives of all sizes. 

“I felt it was important to complete the goals, which provide a nice framework for discussion among our member-owners through our security information sharing team,” Child said. 

Child said the goals are security capabilities that many generation and transmission cooperatives already have in place, but distribution utilities may struggle with due to lack of security staff. 

“My motivation for signing up was to gain firsthand experience with the NRECA processes within this program,” Child said, adding that Great River Energy is happy to collaborate with member-owners who wish to pursue their own award. 

The 10 goals of the program are: 

  1. Establish a security point of contact for your co-op 
  2. Perform a security self-assessment 
  3. Implement security language in third-party contracts 
  4. Implement multi-factor authentication for external systems 
  5. Have a password policy 
  6. Implement security awareness for leaders 
  7. Implement security training for employees 
  8. Separate informational technology and operational technology networks 
  9. Implement an incident response program 
  10. Perform data backups 

More than 200 co-ops have already signed up to participate in the Co-op Cyber Goals Program. Great River Energy was honored as one of the first 20 to complete the program during NRECA’s 2023 Co-op Cyber Tech conference in Kansas City, Missouri.  

The program launched in January and is a new resource through the Rural Cooperative Cybersecurity Capabilities Program. Designed specifically for the needs of electric cooperatives, it provides clear guidelines for basic security integration and actionable steps to advance a co-ops cybersecurity posture. 

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