Five major U.S. energy suppliers deployed IronDome in November to help them share data on cyber threats in real time, Alexander said in an interview.

The company intends to use the funding to set up similar IronDome systems for the healthcare and financial firms, Alexander said.“If our nation is under attack by another nation, we need to be able to share information in time to be able to prevent it,” he said.IronNet developed IronDome to be faster and more automated than traditional methods used for sharing information about cyber threats, he said.IronNet declined to disclose the energy suppliers who are using IronDome, citing customer confidentiality. It said those companies collectively serve 25 U.S. states.

The energy providers adopted IronDome amid growing concern among about the threat that hackers pose to the U.S. power grid and other critical infrastructure.The U.S. government has issued multiple warnings in recent years about attempts by Russia, North Korea and Iran to infiltrate those organizations.

 The Trump administration in March accused Kremlin-linked hackers of gaining remote access to energy sector networks, though it did not identify specific victims.

Alexander ran the NSA from 2005 to 2014, making him the agency’s longest-serving director.He was at the helm of the NSA in 2013 when former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden leaked data about classified U.S. surveillance programs that sparked an international debate about digital privacy.“You want to protect civil liberties and privacy and you want to protect critical infrastructure,” Alexander said. “We believe we can do both.”