One of our favorite events from this year was our #CoopStrong March to the Arch for charity. Not only did we get some exercise before a long day of sessions and witness an incredible sunrise by the St. Louis Arch, but we got to support two local organizations whose mission is to help children in the St. Louis area. The Saint Louis Crisis Nursery is an independent, not-for-profit agency which provides a short-term, safe haven for children, birth through age 12, in the St. Louis area. The Crisis Nursery is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and takes in children whose families face an emergency caused by illness, homelessness, domestic violence or overwhelming parental stress. Since their founding in 1986, the Crisis Nursery has helped more than 114,000 children in the St. Louis and surrounding areas. Birthday Joy, founded by Cindy Lander Wallach, is a 501(c)(3) organization that provides birthday gifts to children in need. The organization works with social workers, case managers and children’s agencies such as Ronald McDonald House and Salvation Army to provide gifts to children who otherwise may not receive them and help make their birthday a memorable and joyous day. In addition to registrations from March to the Arch, Members also had the opportunity to purchase #CoopStrong items in the Swag Stop over the course of the MIC, with all proceeds going toward these two organizations. We’re excited to announce that more than $11,000 was raised for these organizations! Thank you to all who helped show that we are #CoopStrong by supporting children in the St. Louis area. Check out this video to learn more about our #CoopStrong charities.
Last week at the 2019 MIC, we unveiled a refreshed NISC logo and brand. And to be honest, we were a bit nervous about how it would be received. As we continue to grow and evolve, we want our brand to match the innovative solutions we work on every day for our Members. Change can be hard, but after nearly 20 years of service and innovation under our previous logo, we knew it was time. You may notice the familiar red and gray swooshes, which pay homage to our original NISC logo, while the smaller, light gray swooshes reflect the unity between our employees and our Members. The three colors that form our logo represent our Members, our employees and the relationship and partnership that binds us. One of the best things about our new logo? It was designed by our employees – the people who know our culture best. Our designers took into consideration NISC’s history, future and valued relationships, and developed a logo to reflect those vital pieces of our organization. We were blown away by the response at last week’s MIC. We’re so grateful that the message and meaning behind it resonated with you. We even heard that some of you loved it so much you wanted extra notebooks and stickers with our new logo! We know change can be hard, but NISC is committed to remaining a trusted partner to our Members. We hope that as you see our new logo in advertisements, at conferences or on social media, that it provides a sense of reliability and excitement for what’s next.
More than half of all data breaches globally to occur in the United States by 2023, due to the amount of consumer and corporate data stored across the country. (Juniper Research :: 2018 Study) Ransomware attacks are growing more than 350 percent annually. (Cisco) According to Cybersecurity Ventures, damage related to cybercrime is projected to hit $6 trillion annually by 2021. That statistic alone is unnerving. Staying safe online and protecting your valuable data and personal information is a struggle for both businesses and families alike. As cybersecurity efforts evolve, so do the tactics of cybercriminals. It is imperative to realize the range of threats go far beyond phishing emails. Apps containing malware, unsecure WiFi networks and hotpots and unlocked devices are increasingly common methods cybercriminals use to gain access to your information. The cornerstone of cybersecurity is education. October has been named National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, and t help promote the importance of being safe online, NISC is once again offering the NISC CyberSense educational kit for NISC Members and national partners to share with their customers, members and subscribers. Driven by the cooperative principles, NISC leveraged the NISC Cybersecurity Services knowledge-base to create this free tool kit that includes educational animations, social media options and other marketing materials such as bill inserts and retractables to help share the message of cyber security awareness and safety. The printed materials are also designed to allow you to cobrand by placing your organization’s logo in the artwork. From your staff to your customers, all will benefit from cyber threat education and learn tips and tricks to prevent becoming a victim of online crime. Cyber threats are everywhere, and it is critical to be educated on the [...]
As our industries continue to experience rapid growth and change, we’ve seen great innovation in the ways our Members are connecting with their end-users. From integrating renewables, promoting engagement and prioritizing customer service, our Members are connecting with end-users like never before. That’s why we’re so proud of the 13 NISC Members who were named among J.D. Power’s 2019 Electric Utility Residential Customer Satisfaction Study. This list is a prime example of our Members’ passion for service and commitment to customer care, ensuring the needs of their end-users are always met, but usually exceeded. At NISC, we share that same passion for service excellence in the work we do for our Members. We’re proud to support them in their goals and look forward to continuing to be a partner to them as our industries continue to evolve. Congratulations to our Members on the list: SECO Energy Jackson EMC Sawnee EMC Cobb EMC Pedernales Electric Cooperative CoServ Middle Tennessee EMC Connexus Energy Great Lakes Energy Rappahannock Electric Cooperative Withlacoochee River Electric Cooperative South Central Power Lee County Electric Cooperative Click here to learn more about the study and to view the full list of awardees.
Unfortunately, we are living in the day and age of global conflicts spilling over into cyberspace. According to the Washington Post, on June 20, 2019, the U.S. launched cyberstrikes against the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. Currently, the Department of Homeland Security Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) is seeing a rise in spear phishing and brute force attacks. NISC’s Cybersecurity Team has created this list of seven ways to help Members ensure their networks are secure and ready to defend against any potential future cyberattacks: Geo IP Filtering If there is no need for you to do business with Iran, then have those IP addresses blocked. Geo IP filtering can be found on almost any kind of device or software, such as firewalls, email services, remote sessions, etc. Updating and Patching Now is a good time to ensure you are running the latest and greatest patches. Be sure that firewalls, laptops, desktops, email, mobile devices, printers, etc. all have the latest patches and updates applied. Backups Unfortunately, antivirus software cannot catch 100% of everything, so ensure you have backups created and stored offline. Start with mission-critical machines first and work your way down to everyday machines. Best practice is to store backups offline in hard copy form to prevent potential corruption from any kind of cyberattack launched against your network. Documenting & Logging Your Environment Ensure that you can identify all of your assets connected to your network and verify their business case for being on the network, allowing you to quickly identify any potential threats quickly and efficiently. Also, ensure that you are logging and tracking everything that happens on your network by recording and storing logs for your firewall, DNS, DHCP, antivirus, security [...]
There are a lot of great employers out there. With good benefits, a work life balance and great people. We hope our Members and our employees see us as one of those great employers, but also recognize how we are different. We are humbled and proud to be named among IDG Computerworld’s 2019 Best Places to Work in IT for midsize companies for the 16th straight year, and among the Bismarck-Mandan Young Professionals Network Top 10 Workplaces. The credit for these accomplishments is owed to the more than 1,300 individuals who share their commitment to serve and their unequivocal work ethic at NISC. We’re showcasing just a few of the many individuals who make NISC a great place to work and what sets us apart. We strive to be a champion of our employees. To encourage their passions, provide comfort in times of hardship and for them to know just how much they are valued. Follow along with us on social media or click on the videos below to learn more about #NISCLife.
Members big or small, NISC can help them all. NISC’s products and services are scalable in order to provide a significant return on investment for the largest of our Members to the smallest. On the large end of that spectrum is the largest electric distribution cooperative in the United States: Pedernales Electric Cooperative (PEC), headquartered in Johnson City, Texas. Read and watch how NISC was able to help PEC overcome growth and cost challenges and save more than $2 million annually with implementation of NISC’s iVUE® enterprise software.
Life can be hectic. From trying to balance a career with family needs or making time to go to the gym or meet up with family and friends, the last thing customers want to do is worry about paying their bill. Since 2012, NISC’s SmartHub web and mobile app has been a tool that can help telecom and utility customers manage their account while balancing their other responsibilities and activities. Do your customers know how SmartHub can help them manage their account? If not, NISC’s SmartHub Marketing Kit can help! The new kit, available on the NISC Community, is designed to help NISC’s Members promote the benefits of the web and mobile app. Featuring fresh, eye-catching designs, the kit contains bill inserts, social media materials, videos, banners, posters and other promotional material that will help customers understand the benefits of using SmartHub for their account management. SmartHub not only helps customers but provides added benefits for NISC Members as well. When customers use SmartHub for bill pay, they’re going paperless, saving money on a bill print. They also have a convenient way to view their usage and report service interruptions, while NISC’s Members can send messages with important information. This leads to more efficient customer service, fewer calls and increased customer satisfaction. Download the new SmartHub Marketing Kit today, and start getting the most out of the web and mobile app! Visit smarthubkit.com for more info and to download materials.
Our homes and our lives are becoming more and more connected by the day. Between our Nest thermostat, which provides control over our energy use and our Ring doorbell, which allows us peace of mind with security, the Internet of Things is now a reality. NISC is committed to not only providing our Members with solutions to improve efficiencies, but also to staying ahead of technology so you can keep up with the needs of your end-users. That’s why we’re so excited to announce the acquisition of Affinegy, an Austin-based company that provides cloud-based, service enablement software and connected device management for broadband service providers. Not only can our Members now better support their customers and resolve broadband service issues with the new NISC User Services System, customers can also manage their connected devices with increased knowledge of their broadband network and WiFi usage. Check out this video with NISC vice president of Product Management, David Bonnett, as he explains more about the acquisition and what it means for our Members.
Change can be scary. But when you bring together a bunch of people who are committed to serving members and tackling new challenges, it’s amazing what can happen. Last month, Jackson EMC, headquartered in Jefferson, Ga., went live on NISC software. It was a true group effort, with over 60 Jackson employees giving up their weekend to make the switch over to the NISC enterprise system. NISC employees were also on hand to help, ensuring systems were up and running for business on Monday morning. “The launch of NISC is going to bring so many improvements both in the way we operate and the way we connect with members,” said Chip Jakins, Jackson EMC president and CEO. “Our members will be able to get engaged with us like never before with the My Jackson EMC app. It’s really going to open their eyes to Jackson EMC in a new way and show how connected we are as a company and how far we’ve moved in one giant leap with the implementation of this software.” Check out this awesome “Go Live Weekend” video, put together by Jackson EMC, showing all that went into the implementation! View the video by clicking the link below.