Alex Wood is Uplight’s new VP of Information Security. As Uplight partners with utilities, we know information security is top of mind as they work to maintain a reliable energy infrastructure that powers our lives. Learn about Alex’s background, what he brings to Uplight, and why he chose to be a part of our mission.
First of all, Uplight has a big mission- to be the technology provider that enables utilities to transition to clean energy. Tell me about what factors influenced your decision to come to Uplight.
Environmental responsibility is something that was instilled in me when I was young. Things like recycling, composting, and reusing everything you could were normal activities in my house growing up––even when it wasn’t always the easiest option. I’ve always tried to buy cars with efficiency in mind and now I drive an EV that gets charged (at least partially) by the solar panels on my roof.
With all that said, the mission at Uplight is important and it fits with what I’ve always been interested in. Additionally, being a B-corp is really inspiring because we are holding ourselves accountable to meeting that mission.
Also as a technologist, Uplight is at a great inflection point where there is a big opportunity to build more security into our platforms and I’m excited to be here to contribute to this effort.
This is a new role at Uplight. What is first on your list to tackle, and why?
Right now the firehose has been turned on and pointed at me full blast so my first order of business is absorbing as much of that as I can and learning about our products, our technology, and our security posture. One job of a security leader is to assess information risk and to do that I need to understand how the business operates, what generates revenue, how our technology fits into that, and where our data lives. That baseline will help inform what risks exist and how to appropriately address them.
What I know already is that we have great people already doing great work in security, but we need to be more programmatic and formalized around how we do some things. I am building that plan of how we introduce some of that formalized security program.
You have a wealth of experience in information security. How do you see your experience helping Uplight better partner with energy and ecosystem providers to power the clean energy transformation?
I have been fortunate enough to work across many different verticals in my career, including IT services, energy, healthcare, and financial services, and that has given me a broad perspective on how information security is handled in these different environments. Those verticals ran the gamut of little to high regulation and cutting edge to behind the times.
I can bring the best practices I have learned in my career to help push security forward. I think I can also bring the knowledge of what didn’t work well or caused friction in those verticals. Security has evolved from being a blocker to a business enablement function and I want to help enable the best security at Uplight and the rest of the utility energy ecosystem.
What do you see as the main challenges and opportunities for information security in the energy space?
The challenge is similar in all industries. Threats continue to increase. Nation state actors are turning their attention to the disruption that could be caused by attacking utility companies. The bar continues to be raised in terms of providing sufficient protection. We need to stay ahead of the attackers and continue to address the risks we face. These are exciting, but challenging times to be in information security.
The opportunity is that everything today is about data and that is no different in the energy space. Uplight has seen the power that can come from taking energy data and using it to drive lower, more efficient, and greener energy usage. However, with great power comes great responsibility and whomever is the steward for this vast amount of data has the responsibility to keep it secure. When we show that we can meet this responsibility of keeping data secure, we earn trust from our utility customers, their customers, regulators, and the whole industry. This not only helps Uplight, but it helps the whole industry and enables us to realize our mission.
Is there anything else that you’d like to share?
I am excited to be at Uplight and to continue maturing our information security function. Thanks for letting me introduce myself here.