Page 2 - Upper Peninsula Business Today -- April 2019
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Corky DeRoeck
Kristal Soper
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April 2019 • Vol. 28 • Number 5
Cybersecurity and ‘Green’ Markets: Energy & Construction
The author will be writing a monthly article throughout 2019 on Cybersecurity across vari- ous market segments. Be sure to watch for it to see how your business may benefit from this important information. Good reading and see you next month.
The emphasis on cybersecurity across all mar- ket sectors is gaining steam. Two of those mar- kets, renewable ‘green’ energy and ‘green’ con- struction, are at higher risk of cyber-attacks on their systems because the perception in both industries is that they are not active targets.
According to a recent Security Scorecard Report, the construction industry ranked third for security rating. Because it does not have as large of an IT footprint as other industries, con- struction is not considered to be a hot target for attackers. This does appear to be a temporary trend, however, as the focus of malicious attack- ers is expected to increase significantly due to the standardizationof‘smart’andIoT(Internetof Things) devices such as water heaters, thermo-
stats, and power systems. These new devices will create a bigger attack surface that previously did not exist. [1]
In the green energy field, there are two promi- nent drivers that create cyber risk. The first is connected elements; smart grids and smart meters. These are controlled by industrial con- trol systems and supervisory control and data acquisition which increase the number of poten- tial entry points into energy systems. The second driver is the unavoidable shift from centralized to distributed energy generation and the rise of generation sites; compounding the risk by pro- ducing more potential entry points for cyber- attacks. Interconnectedness between system components results in circumstances where a security breach at one point of the energy chain can put the entire system at risk. [2]
For both of these industries, cybersecurity is a growing necessity. Implementing a ‘security cul- ture’ within companies is essential; training employees, updating firewall and antivirus soft-
ware, implementing a mitigation plan that includes penetration testing and data partition- ing, and obtaining insurance coverage. Regard- less of what type of business you are in, it is time to take stock of your business’ cybersecurity health and begin to plan and implement a thoughtful cybersecurity strategy.
[1] K. Slowey, “How Construction Companies Can Improve Cybersecurity”, Construction Dive, August 2016
[2] W. Steel, “Heeding the Call for Cybersecurity in the Renewable Energy Sector’, Renewable Energy World, April 2017
A. Elisabeth Tolsdorf is author of this article and the Director of NIST SP 800-171 Compliance for Hawk Technologies, a woman-owned firm located in Houghton, Michigan. Hawk is the Upper Mid- west’s primary source for NIST SP 800-171 Com- pliance services. Additional information about NIST SP 800-171 and Hawk’s CAD services capabilities can be found at
Six Risks To Be Prepared For In Retirement Years
Rikki Parent-Northwestern Mutual, Iron Mountain As baby boomers approach retirement, many may find themselves in different economic cir- cumstances than what they planned for. Recent economic events have taught us the downside of risk, yet careful planning can help soften the impact. Northwestern Mutual says your retire- ment plan can stay on track if you focus on these
six key risks —
Health care risk: Rising medical and prescrip-
tion drug costs, fewer employer-sponsored retiree benefits and limitations of Medicare are all affecting income and retirement savings. According to, estimated health care costs for a 65-year-old range from $3,000 for someone in excellent health to $10,000 for someone in poor health, including premiums, deductibles and co-pays but not including long- term care, vision or dental expenses.
Inflation and taxes: With inflation reducing purchasing power and taxes impacting liquida- tion strategies, less money will be available to spend or invest in retirement planning.
Longevity risk: Americans are living longer and the possibility exists that they could outlive their resources. There is a 10 percent chance that a65-yearoldmalewillliveto97yearsofageand a 1 percent chance the same male will live to 105 years of age. Yet, the “average” life expectancy is only 85 years, meaning half of the population
will die before that age and the other half is expected to live longer.
Legacy risk: Many Americans want to leave a legacy, making an impact beyond their lifetime by leaving a financial gift to a loved one or a char- ity. It is necessary to balance this desire with the need to fund an individual’s retirement.
Long-term care risk: The cost of care for an unexpected event, or long-term illness not cov- ered by private insurance or Medicare is requir- ing more Americans to prematurely deplete their assets. A 2009 Life Insurance Marketing and Research Association, or LIMRA, survey of pre- retirees and retirees aged 55 to 75 found health care and long-term care expenses together account for between 12 and 15 percent of retire- ment expenses, depending on the household income.
Market risk: Participating in the stock market can give an individual’s retirement savings and income the potential to keep pace with inflation; however, volatility in investment markets can significantly affect retirement income and sav- ings.
Northwestern Mutual has a range of online resources to help individuals think about and plan retirement needs. Go to
Rikki Parent is a financial advisor with North- western Mutual.

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