At Cass County Electric Cooperative, a whole world of data and devices are relied upon to keep the electricity flowing and the lights on. A team of diligent employees works to make sure that information is flowing smoothly and communication lines are in top form — no simple task for a co-op serving more than 47,000 accounts across 10 counties and based out of five service centers throughout the area.
CCEC’s information technology (IT) team consists of five people dedicated to keeping the networks and technology used by employees secure and dependable. Hundreds of phones, computers, and mobile devices are used every day in nearly every role at CCEC to transmit or share millions of pieces of data. It is part of the IT team’s duties to ensure employees have the systems and devices needed to perform the job.
Maintaining network systems for the cooperative is crucial. Internet downtime costs a business time and money these days. Recent efforts at CCEC have involved upgrading network speeds and even enhancing reliability through a redundant backup network. If anything happens to one, the backup will keep employees connected and able to do their jobs.
When it comes to communications, internet is not the only tool CCEC relies upon. Radio communication is essential for crews and employees who often work in the most remote parts of the service territory. Efforts to maintain a reliable radio network recently called for the installation of a new 400-foot radio tower near Lisbon.
CCEC places a high priority on safety and security. An employee specifically devoted to information security was added to bolster the IT team’s efforts. A dark world of cyber threats exists around the globe, providing a constant threat to the security of individuals and businesses alike. CCEC strives to defend information and the people it belongs to by spotting and stopping threats before they cause harm.
There’s no shortage of data handled by an electric co-op, either. Service information for CCEC’s member accounts is managed and maintained with specialized software, used to manage billing, accounting, communication, and many other tasks.
A great deal of maintaining information security involves educating employees on the dangers of cyber threats that could threaten the data of the co-op and its members, especially as massive data breaches continue to populate news headlines. In a business society relying on email communication, “phishing” attacks — misleading messages meant to lure recipients into cyber attacks — happen frequently. Ensuring employees know how to spot and avoid these malicious attempts is crucial. Additionally, the IT team maintains and regularly upgrades physical security at CCEC locations, including electronic locks and surveillance systems.