An upcoming free cybersecurity tabletop exercise will aid scores of electric cooperatives in fulfilling several of NRECA’s Co-op Cyber Goals as CEOs, managers and even board members form teams to execute their communication plans for fighting cyberthreats.

“Cybersecurity is a team sport,” said Ryan Newlon, NRECA principal for cybersecurity solutions. “Building team relationships now can be key to a smooth response when a real cyber incident occurs.” 

NRECA and NUARI—the Norwich University Applied Research Institutes—collaborated to create the Cyber Incident Communications Response Tabletop Exercise, a virtual event that takes place Nov. 7 from noon to 4 p.m. ET. 

Registration is open through Oct. 26, and a one-hour training session is required prior to the exercise. 

“This exercise will engage co-op staff from the C-suite, who may not be involved in cybersecurity every day, to engineers and IT professionals,” Newlon said. “Injected scenarios will call for decision-making, actions and communications at all levels.”

Co-ops that can only spare one staffer for the exercise should still participate as NRECA will set that individual up with another co-op team, Newlon said. Co-op teams can participate in the exercise where they are or join up with their colleagues at a neighboring co-op or statewide association.   

This tabletop will also advance co-ops’ progress in meeting five of the milestones under NRECA’s 10-goal program: 

  • Goal 1: Establish a Cybersecurity Point of Contact
  • Goal 6: Leadership Training
  • Goal 8: IT/OT Segmentation
  • Goal 9: Cyber Incident Response Plan
  • Goal 10: Data Backups

More than 200 co-ops have signed up for the cyber goal program since its launch last January. The first 20 to complete all 10 goals were recognized at the NRECA Co-op Cyber Tech Conference in May.  

More than 500 co-op staff across 42 states registered for the NRECA-NUARI cyber tabletop in February that focused on co-ops’ incident response plans.