East Central Energy Using N-Dimension to Strengthen Cybersecurity Defenses
April 18, 2017
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N-Dimension Solutions recently announced East Central Energy (ECE) is now using N-Sentinel Monitoring as an additional layer of cybersecurity protection on their corporate network. N-Sentinel Monitoring is designed to operate continuously to identify cybersecurity issues, providing timely alerts and actionable steps for IT staff to take to reduce risk.
ECE is a member-owned electric distribution cooperative that provides service to over 59,000 homes, farms, and businesses in 14 counties across east central Minnesota and northwestern Wisconsin. They are one of 28 cooperatives that own and rely on Great River Energy (GRE) for power generation.
With firewalls, intrusion protection systems, web filtering and other such cybersecurity products protecting the utility's network perimeter from outside threats, ECE IT Manager, Ty Houglum, was still concerned. "While we had a hardened shell on the outside, we were soft on the inside," stated Houglum. "We had layered security protection to stop threats from getting into our network but lacked visibility into security issues on the inside, leaving us exposed."
The utility evaluated several solutions and selected N-Dimension's N-Sentinel Monitoring because it not only provided continuous vigilance, but is a managed service specifically designed for utilities that includes both remediation guidance and access to cybersecurity experts. Like many smaller co-ops, ECE does not have IT staff who both understand the utility environment and have deep cybersecurity expertise, which N-Sentinel Monitoring delivers.
Some examples of situations in which N-Sentinel Monitoring has identified cybersecurity issues at ECE include: identification of passwords sent in clear text across the network to unsecured websites; a printer that was sending to a known botnet IP address; and audit of a security policy that prohibits employees from using a jump drive in any system to download/upload data. N-Sentinel Monitoring provides ECE with the visibility and insights about potential cybersecurity risks on their network enabling them to react.
"Our managed service uniquely offers utilities access to utility cybersecurity experts who act as an extension of IT staff, helping to identify and shut down potential threats quickly," said Tom Ayers, president and CEO, N-Dimension. "Reducing the time to identify and shut down potential threats is proven to significantly reduce risk."
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