Cybersecurity and other online precautions were the topic of Tuesday morning's Belmont Abbey College President's Community Roundtable, which is a quarterly informational event held at TechWorks in Belmont, N.C.
(TNS) — One of the most devastating messages that can be received on a business computer? "Your computer has been encrypted."
One of the worst nightmares of a business large or small? The realization that a cyber attack has been made.
The best defenses against such an attack occurring? Strict policies, employee education, continual vigilance and... insurance.
Cybersecurity was the topic of Tuesday morning's Belmont Abbey College President's Community Roundtable, a quarterly event held at TechWorks in Belmont, N.C.
Robin Lang, a vice president of CaroMont Health, Nicole Boyd, a leader of Bank of America's security team, Nash Hasan, chief information officer of Belmont Abbey, and Will Bowen, an aide to U.S. Rep. Patrick McHenry, offered varied perspectives on cybersecurity, but all agreed it is vital to all businesses no matter how large or how small.
Boyd described the four types of cyber attackers:
• An insider -- someone within the company who wants to steal from the company or simply wants to create mayhem.
• A criminal -- someone who wants to commit fraud or theft, often using ransomware which demands payment for a system to be unlocked again.
• Hacktivist -- Someone who wants to achieve political goals or advance a cause through cyber attack.
• Nation -- Another government seeking to interfere in America's political or financial affairs, such as the Russian attempt to influence the 2016 presidential election.
Basically, every business.
According to Terry Cox, executive director of TechWorks, 75 percent of security breaches are made against small businesses.
Particularly at risk are health care organizations, 90 percent of whom have had a security breach within the past two years, according to Lang.
She also noted that health care organizations are expected to be the number one target of cyber attacks in 2020.
"Never believe you are too small for an attack," Lang said. "If you see it on a fictional TV show, somebody is already out there doing it. It is very hard to stay ahead of the bad guys."
Boyd noted that any business, large or small, is likely to lose customers and investors if it suffers a significant security breach.
Cybersecurity breaches cost the global economy roughly $600 billion each year and the necessity for security adds tremendously to the cost of doing business.
"It takes a lot of people, a lot time, and a lot of money across the economy to provide for security," she said.
So how should businesses work to guard against cyber attacks? The speakers struck on some common themes:
• Invest in the technology needed to keep data safe.
• Get employees involved. Make them aware that maintaining cybersecurity is an important part of their job.
• Everything you do, do it with security in mind.
• Have an emergency management plan in place before an attack occurs.
• Think critically about who needs access to what information. If an employee does not use information regularly, there is no reason for them to have access to it.
©2019 Gaston Gazette, Gastonia, N.C. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.