Cyber Resiliency: A New Spin on Community Investment

Cyber Resiliency: A New Spin on Community Investment

Time Warner Cable Shares Business Acumen with Non Profit Partners

Kim Pease from Citadel Information Group discusses cyber threats with TWC event attendees

Chief Technology Innovation Officer from City of Los Angeles Peter Marx

A nonprofit executive peruses cyber resiliency information from the FBI

Tuesday, April 21, 2015 - 2:10pm

CAMPAIGN: Making Connections That Matter

CONTENT: Article

By Milinda Martin

As Vice President of Community Investment for Time Warner Cable, I am often questioned on what that term means:  community investment. In my 20 years of strategic philanthropy at various Fortune 500 corporations, I have evolved my own thinking, as the industry has changed.

Companies now must be much more engaged with the world, and as I wrote in Forbes in late 2014, social impact is a necessity for corporate survival: the Millennials just expect it, and social media will “out” those who fail soon enough.

So whereas a decade ago, a corporation could receive positivity if they donated to various local nonprofits; or five years ago, a company could narrow the field and claim “we are going to contribute our resources to solving one particular problem”, today community investment means something different . To invest in our communities means leveraging our business purpose to deliver benefit outside the corporate walls. Recently, Time Warner Cable had an opportunity to do just that.

As an Internet Service Provider, we know that 71% of cyber threats happen to organizations with less than 100 employees. Of those impacted, 60% will close within six months of the cyber threat. And importantly, 80% of those cyber threats could have been mitigated with appropriate preventative steps.*

In the wake of the Sony and Anthem hack, our Community Investment team started to think about our nonprofit partners:  we realized that we could ensure greater cyber resiliency by sharing TWC acumen. Working with Fay Feeney, at Risk for Good, we devised a multi-phased program that would

  • enlighten nonprofits on their cyber risks
  • provide insights on how to mitigate those risks
  • engage NGO leadership and their board of directors around the topic to ensure resources and support flowed
  • identify and encourage funders to support cyber resilience grants; and
  • take on a case study so we could map all steps in ensuring nonprofit cyber resiliency

In planning the first phase, a cyber resiliency summit, we found tremendous support for this topic from for-profits, NGOs and government partners – American Express, Symantec, the FBI, and even the City of Los Angeles – all willing to bring the cyber conversation to crucial nonprofit services. We also learned from the Rockefeller Foundation and their 100 Resilient Cities programs that several global municipalities have actually identified cyber-threats as one of their greatest resiliency concerns. 

Our nonprofit organizations provide so many critical services in our communities, from healthcare to social services, from education to job training. For any one of them, a cyber threat could mean closing down for good. Whether through TWC skills-based employee volunteerism, or the ability to compile online tools tailored to the not-for-profit sector, or by leveraging our role in the global community, we can address this issue and help our communities become more cyber resilient.

This is a new form of addressing social impact:  leveraging our experience as small business ISP experts to add significant value to our nonprofit partners, to ensure their sustainability and resiliency. It’s my current definition of community investment.


* Statistics courtesy Federal Bureau of Investigation


Milinda Martin
+1 (310) 647-6545
Time Warner Cable