Electric Power Board Takes Cyber Security Measures

Friday, September 18, 2020 - by Gail Perry

Board members were presented with reports regarding the measures taken to ensure cyber security and the company’s efforts for inclusion, at the September meeting of the Electric Power Board. President David Wade introduced Steve Morrison, director of information security with EPB, who updated the board on security.   

With the COVID pandemic taking place, the number of employees working from home increased along with the need for assuring cyber security. Mr. Morrison said it made it easier because the company already had a work-at-home program so it was just expanded and improved in order to reduce risk.  A security analyst was added, credit card security that is needed for transactions that are made through the call center has been improved and a Microsoft program that can detect sensitive data when it is put on the cloud will flag malicious entries. A method to improve passwords has also been implemented.

There has been a focus on security and privacy training, and the company is on the cutting edge of protecting encryption, said Mr. Morrison. A penetration team is in place whose purpose is to attempt to hack into the company’s systems as a test.  Preparation for the future in the event of a security breach has been addressed with a new incident response plan. Cyber Insurance Coverage has also been raised, although he said he hopes it is never needed. 

Mr. Wade noted that most of the cyber issues that happen are not elaborate schemes, but are done by trying to get people to click on a link. Mr. Morrison’s team sends out fake emails to various users including the president. All businesses have some risk so we need to continue emphasis on security and improve it, said Mr. Wade. 

Marie Webb, senior vice president of human resources and chief talent and inclusion officer, heads a newly created senior inclusion team. Ms. Webb presented the board with a report for how the company is addressing inclusion. There have been three focuses, she said: effective hiring for finding the best people for a job, to encourage the best level of performance for employees and to maintain the company’s character when an employee leaves. 

The benefits that EPB sees as a result of diversity, she said, is a higher level of performance that comes with diverse representation. One goal is that the make-up of the employees reflects the make-up of the community. 

Progress is being made with the EdConnect Program  that is a joint effort with Hamilton County Schools to provide internet services to students who do not have them. As of now, he said 4,400 households have been connected which gives internet access to 6,800 students. Good progress is being made, but he said that it will take several more months before reaching the goal of providing the service to 28,500 students, free of charge. 

The financial audit was presented to the board by James Bence with Mauldin & Jenkins. EPB received a clean opinion for 2020, he said, with no deficiencies identified. 



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