Welcome to episode 7 of our Navigating COVID-19 Podcast series! In this episode we’re speaking with Charlie Cano, CEO of ETEX Telephone Cooperative in Gilmer, Texas. ETEX was formed in 1952 to meet the communication needs of people living in rural northeast Texas. In their more than 60 years in business, ETEX has grown into a company covering a service territory of 710 square miles and providing service to over 12,600 members and customers. In this episode, Charlie shares how ETEX put processes in place to ensure the safety of their employees and customers during the pandemic as well as how their partnership with local schools in their community is helping with virtual learning. Have a story you’d like to share? Please email Jennifer Segelle at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lake Saint Louis, Mo., June 23, 2020 – National Information Solutions Cooperative (NISC), a leading provider of software solutions to utility and telecommunication companies, was named a Best Place to Work in Information Technology (IT) by IDG Insider Pro and Computerworld, ranking no. 8 among midsize organizations (1,001 – 4,999 employees). 2020 marks NISC’s 17th straight year on the list and 18th recognition overall. “We're honored to have been recognized by Computerworld for the 18th time,” said NISC president and CEO Dan Wilbanks. “NISC’s employees and their commitment to serving our Members and being a leader in the technology industry are what make this such a great place to work. It’s reassuring to know our employees recognize and appreciate our efforts to uphold our incredible culture, Shared Values and collaborative working environment.” Since 1994, the annual Best Places to Work in IT feature has ranked the top 100 work environments for technology professionals. The list is compiled based on a comprehensive questionnaire regarding company offerings in categories such as benefits, career development, training and retention. In addition, IDG conducted extensive surveys of NISC’s IT workers, and their responses factored heavily in determining the rankings. “As technology continues to evolve more rapidly than ever, attracting and retaining top IT talent to research, deploy and maintain that technology has never been more important or more challenging,” said Dan Muse, editor of IDG’s Insider Pro. “Companies that have earned a spot on the Insider Pro and Computerworld 2020 Best Place to Work in IT list share a common denominator: They create an environment that not only rewards workers with competitive compensation and benefits, but they also foster a spirit of diversity, social responsibility, training and innovation.” NISC was also [...]
Welcome to episode 6 of our Navigating COVID-19 Podcast series! In this episode we’re speaking with Stephanie Johnson, Marketing and Member Services Manager for Jasper County REMC in Rensselaer, Indiana. Jasper County serves about 31,000 people in a small county in northwest Indiana, and Stephanie emphasized the importance of their organization helping businesses during the pandemic as well as working with members on options to pay their bills, including partial payments. Have a story you’d like to share? Please email Jennifer Segelle at email@example.com.
Welcome to episode 5 of our Navigating COVID-19 Podcast series! In this episode we’re speaking with Dr. Michel Guité, CEO of Vermont Telephone Company (VTel), in Springfield, Vermont. Dr. Guité shares how VTel worked with local schools in their communities to ensure students had access to reliable internet connections and the value in continuing to provide excellent customer service during the pandemic. Have a story you’d like to share? Please email Jennifer Segelle at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Providing your customers with communication options is essential as we rely more on technology to stay connected. Making that communication simple is critical. Now, you can enhance that connectivity and communication by leveraging the new outage two-way texting feature. Powered by the NISC enterprise, the new two-way texting feature utilizes the accessibility of SmartHub, along with the communication power of Messenger and NISC's Outage Management System (OMS), to provide an easy, convenient way for your members and customers to report and receive updates on an outage. "Efficient communication is always essential, but has become critical during these uncertain times," said Amber Wesche, NISC product manager for SmartHub. "The ability to report an outage and receive updates via text is going to give our Members more flexibility and more options to reach their members and customers efficiently and effectively." Through two-way texting, your members and customers will have the ability to text a key word to you in order to report an outage or receive a status update regarding a current issue. Customers can text OUT to a designated text number to report an outage or STATUS to check the status of their service during an outage, and will receive an automatically generated message to keep them updated. "Two-way outage texting supports our strategic initiative to provide robust outage communication for our members," said Keith Stapleton, chief communications officer at Sam Houston Electric Cooperative. "They've been asking for it, and we expect outage texting to increase member satisfaction." To take advantage of two-way texting, your member or customer must be a registered SmartHub user with a phone number listed as a Messenger contact. Also, NISC's OMS system is a requirement for use.
Working remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic has been a lifesaver, but it has also brought new threats. Working from home allows people to minimize social interaction, which limits and slows the spread of COVID-19. But, as highlighted in a recent alert from the North American Electric Reliability Corp. (NERC), the electric power industry “is in a period of heightened cyber risk due to a large contingent of industry employees working remotely.” As remote working ramped up in response to COVID-19, there has been an increase in opportunistic actors who are testing the defenses of businesses as their workers shift to home offices, NERC said.Cyber criminals, for instance, have targeted remote work technologies, such as video conferencing services even as many of their targets, employees working remotely, are more vulnerable by being distracted by domestic circumstances and anxiety about the threat of COVID-19. And, in many cases, those employees and their employers are even more vulnerable because they are working on computers that had to be made secure quickly.“We are lucky to be able to do it, but working from home comes with risks,” Scott Kaylor, manager, member cybersecurity and networking services at National Information Solutions Cooperative (NISC), said.“Overall, our workload for supporting our Members in their work-at-home transition has increased by at least three times,” Kaylor said. “We are still seeing Members sending workers home and our calls are still about two times what they are under normal circumstances.”With so many employees working from home, “the threat has grown immensely because now you have all these unknowns,” Kaylor said. All those devices greatly increase what IT experts call the “attack surface” available to cyber criminals.In late April, the FBI’s cyber division reported receiving 3,000 to 4,000 cybersecurity complaints [...]
Welcome to episode 4 of our Navigating COVID-19 Podcast series! In this episode we’re speaking with Katie Pfennigs, Marketing and Communications Supervisor for Flathead Electric Cooperative in Kalispell, Montana. Katie shares how Flathead continued some of their Annual Meeting traditions despite having to cancel their meeting this year, and other ways the cooperative is supporting their community during this time. Have a story you’d like to share? Please email Jennifer Segelle at email@example.com.
Lake Saint Louis, Mo., May 4, 2020 – National Information Solutions Cooperative (NISC), a leading provider of software solutions to utility and telecommunication companies, has launched an upgraded version of the NISC Community, NISC’s online communications and content sharing platform for Members and employees. The NISC Community, which was first established in 2008, is a one-stop-shop enabling users to discover valuable resources and information to assist in their jobs, share information with NISC subject matter experts and peers across the country, and grow through collaboration and training opportunities. The upgrade marks the fifth generation of the NISC Community. “Just as we continually update our solutions and software, we’re always looking for new ways to enhance the NISC Community for our Members and employees,” said NISC Engagement Analyst and Community Manager Tammy Eck. “We’re excited by the new capabilities available with this upgrade and for what’s to come as we build out our roadmap for future offerings.” For more information regarding the NISC Community, please contact Community Support at firstname.lastname@example.org. About NISCNational Information Solutions Cooperative (NISC) is an information technology organization that develops, implements and supports software and hardware solutions for our Members. We deliver advanced solutions, services and support to 844 independent telephone companies, electric cooperatives and other public power entities. NISC is an industry leader providing information technology solutions including billing, accounting, operations, automated mailroom services, third-party integration as well as many other solutions. With facilities in Mandan, N.D., Lake Saint Louis, Mo., Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Shawano, Wis., Blacksburg, Va., and Austin, Texas, NISC and its subsidiaries employ more than 1,300 professionals.
Lake Saint Louis, Mo., May 1, 2020 – National Information Solutions Cooperative (NISC) strives to provide maximum value to its current Members, while continuing strategic growth of its Membership. That growth was exhibited by the NISC Board of Directors' approval of several new Members during its April meeting. The approvals, coupled with the consolidation of two Member organizations, brings NISC's Membership total to 844. The following utility and telecommunication companies were welcomed to the NISC family. Utilities Bridger Valley Electric Association, Mountain View, Wyo.Cowlitz County, Public Utility District No. 1, Longview, Wash.Dixie Electric Membership Corporation, Baton Rouge, La.Surprise Valley Electrification Corp., Alturas, Calif. Telecoms Citizens Telephone Company, Hammond, N.Y.Consolidated Business Services, Mt. Angel, Ore. "Membership growth enhances NISC's economies of scale, while allowing for an annual investment of more than $50 million in research and development and steady Membership rates," said Susan Imm, NISC vice president of Sales and Marketing. "Now more than ever, we understand and appreciate the critical role our Members play in their communities," Imm said. "We're grateful for the trust these new Members have placed in us to leverage technology, improve efficiencies and help them provide reliable service to those who depend on them." About NISCNational Information Solutions Cooperative (NISC) is an information technology organization that develops, implements and supports software and hardware solutions for our Members. We deliver advanced solutions, services and support to 844 independent telephone companies, electric cooperatives and other public power entities. NISC is an industry leader providing information technology solutions including billing, accounting, operations, automated mailroom services, third-party integration as well as many other solutions. With facilities in Mandan, N.D., Lake Saint Louis, Mo., Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Shawano, Wis., Austin, Texas, and Blacksburg, Va., NISC and its subsidiaries [...]