When it comes to creating a culture of cybersecurity within their organizations, one thing is clear: Changes must be made throughout the cooperative, not just the IT department.

A natural partner in developing a stronger cybersecurity posture is the human resources department.

After testing a new cybersecurity self-assessment tool as part of NRECA’s Rural Cooperative Cybersecurity Capabilities Program (RC3), employees at Laurens Electric Cooperative in Laurens, South Carolina, discovered HR’s critical role in cybersecurity.

“I realized as we went through it that there is much more value from a human resources standpoint than I had expected,” says Dena Moore, the co-op’s human resources coordinator.

After the assessment test, Moore met with IT staff to rewrite job descriptions to include each position’s network access needs and create new network security procedures for employees who leave the co-op.

At North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives (NCEC; statewide), responsibility for security practices has been moved from IT to the supervisory level in each department.

“Rather than being seen as a special function in just one part of the cooperative, this makes cybersecurity a part of the day-to-day work of every employee,” says Ajaz Sadiq, NCEC’s vice president of grid modernization and technology integration.

Look to your HR department for other cybersecurity input, like recruiting security-minded staff and developing cyber training programs.

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