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Apr 26, 201812:49 PMMaking Madison

with Buckley Brinkman

Get excited about cybersecurity — no, really!

(page 1 of 2)

Learning new things excites me.

A recent trip to Detroit proved it again as our MEP National Network team worked to make sense of cybersecurity for small- and medium-sized manufacturers (SMMs) across the country. It’s a fascinating quest because the subject area is so broad and high and deep — plus it changes every week. The outcomes hold serious consequences for everyone involved, which presents a major challenge for the MEP system charged to devise practical solutions. I’m a neophyte in the area, so my knowledge base expanded by a huge percentage. Exciting stuff, with much more to come!

Of course, I wanted to share my excitement and new knowledge as quickly as I could, so I visited a local executive to fire him up. Cybersecurity is a critical issue that will affect everyone and becomes more serious every day. Surely, the details would fire up my friend and he would be as excited as I was. Yet, the further I pushed, the more I thought a yawn would be a better reaction than what I got.

“Why aren’t you more excited?” I asked.

“I fail to see how this has much to do with me,” he responded. “I’m way too small to be anyone’s target and even if they attacked me, there’s nothing here that anyone would want.”

CRASH went my excitement. Everyone should be engaged, yet it wasn’t the case here. Of course, I’ve also learned that once “should” enters a sentence, nothing ever works the right way.

All this pushed me to think about why more people aren’t paying attention. Are we too busy? Not aware? Think that nothing can be done or we’re in a low-risk situation? I’m not sure.

How many of you have participated in a “white hat hack,” where an expert tries to breach your organization’s virtual and physical facilities? One of my friends works at a company that contracted for one of these test hacks. The company lost control of its entire operation in less than two weeks. Servers, networks, systems, bank accounts, and physical assets were all breached. Ironically, the best-protected company facility was breached through a wireless printer. Modern hacking techniques make everyone vulnerable.

I hear you saying, “I fail to see how any of this affects me. My operation is too small and has minimal value to anyone else. Besides my IT guy takes care of it for me.”

Let me give you three reasons to jump in:

  1. The first steps are easy;
  2. Your customers will demand it; and
  3. Proactivity may save your company.

Small steps and persistence can make a big difference.

Take the first easy steps. Forensic studies show that 80–90% of cyber events are enabled by poor software patching, compromised credentials, or employee actions. Most companies will not be victims the first day a virus is introduced, so running current software with all the updates in place prevents many attacks before they happen. Next, passwords and usernames rarely prevent any but the most casual attacks. Multifactor authentication should protect your accounts and facilities. Finally, train your employees to make them smarter about the threats to both the company and their personal accounts. These three actions close major hacking doors and will make your organization more secure.

(Continued)

Apr 29, 2018 11:18 am
 Posted by  Anonymous

At Wind River Financial, a merchant credit card processor in Madison, we have seen much of this over the years as we witnessed various merchants who were "too small and do not have anything hackers want anyway" get breached. It happens.

For this reason, we rolled out a new proactive Advanced Security Package or ASP. It provides automated tools that can help do the heavy lifting so that business owners can concentrate on running their business instead of being security experts. It helps protect against the most common attack vectors used by hackers.

In many cases, we can deploy point-to-point encryption in merchant environments that encrypts credit card data from the point of entry to after it leaves the merchant computer network. The decryption key does not exist within the merchant network, so even if a hacker is already intercepting data from the merchant, they do not have the ability to decrypt it.

See our website at: www.windriverfinancial.com and talk to us about how we can build custom payment acceptance for your business, enable Level 3 data to reduce your B2B transaction costs, validate PCI compliance, and reduce overall risk to your business.

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About This Blog

Buckley Brinkman is executive director and CEO of the Wisconsin Center for Manufacturing & Productivity and writes about the manufacturing sector in Greater Madison and throughout Wisconsin. He has a breadth of experience in helping companies drive growth, world-class competitiveness, and performance excellence, and has led efforts to save dozens of operations in the U.S. by finding new ways for them to compete. A Wisconsin native, Brinkman holds a business degree from the University of Wisconsin and an MBA from the Harvard Business School.

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