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EESCO earns Innovation Award for cybersecurity fix for critical infrastructure

Nov. 7, 2023
How automation distributor leveraged Rockwell Automation and Cisco technology to acquire federal funding for securing water/wastewater facilities

Englewood Electrical Supply (EESCO), which earned the Distributor Innovation Award at Rockwell Automation’s PartnerNetwork Conference earlier this year in Los Angeles, was founded more than 100 years ago in Chicago.

Now a division of Wesco, EESCO has grown to include 17 locations in eight states representing more than 400 product lines.

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“The Rockwell Automation PartnerNetwork Innovation Awards honor the achievements of organizations that have successfully planned and executed innovative and transformational solutions in one or multiple areas of their business through the application of Rockwell and other partners’ digital and disruptive technologies,” explains Jarrett Haffner, senior marketing strategy manager at Wesco.

Critical-infrastructure industries, such as water/wastewater, need to be protected from cyber attacks with risk-aversion guidance and security strategies. A municipality with 12 wastewater facilities had contracted EESCO as part of an integrated service contract, conducting network health checks, which resulted in an EESCO network IoT engineer discovering more than 500 vulnerabilities in the packet capture and a physical security vulnerability.

A planned network upgrade was subsequently moved up a year from 2024 to 2023 so the vulnerabilities could be addressed. EESCO collaborated with Cisco to provide network design and support in writing documents for federal funding, and the project was awarded to EESCO in September, with funding approved for purchase in 2023. EESCO leveraged Rockwell Automation’s CompactLogix controllers and Stratix switches to improve network robustness and address cybersecurity vulnerabilities.

“EESCO’s solution allowed the customer to achieve business goals of improving network robustness and addressing cybersecurity vulnerabilities, resulting in cost reductions and increased productivity,” explains Haffner. “The project also enabled the customer to secure funding for the upgrade, allowing them to drive innovation through advanced technology. The project had a significant social and environmental impact as it ensured the safety and cleanliness of the local water supply.”

EESCO also gained operational intelligence through the identification of vulnerabilities during the network health check, adds Haffner. “The successful completion of the project was made possible through the expertise of EESCO’s network engineering team, the support of Cisco and the use of Rockwell products,” he concludes.

About the Author

Mike Bacidore | Editor in Chief

Mike Bacidore is chief editor of Control Design and has been an integral part of the Endeavor Business Media editorial team since 2007. Previously, he was editorial director at Hughes Communications and a portfolio manager of the human resources and labor law areas at Wolters Kluwer. Bacidore holds a BA from the University of Illinois and an MBA from Lake Forest Graduate School of Management. He is an award-winning columnist, earning multiple regional and national awards from the American Society of Business Publication Editors. He may be reached at [email protected] 

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