With all of the chaos in the world today surrounding the topic of cybersecurity, the subject demands to be discussed. It should come as no surprise that cybersecurity is a growing concern that affects virtually everyone from the small business owner who was attacked, all the way up to the federal agencies who are working to investigate cybercriminals and every concerned party in between. Cybersecurity is indeed, a crisis that the world is facing with no end in sight and an issue that is escalating faster than people are being educated. However, there is some hope for the future.
Champlain College, in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Justice, hosted the Understanding Digital Threats conference on March 10th to bring together some of the best minds in cybersecurity to discuss the ever-changing landscape and what is being done to combat it. Among the guest speakers were representatives from the U.S. Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), United States Attorney for the District of Vermont, and Twinstate Technologies® CEO Devi Momot, CISSP®, GSLC®, GISP®, among other cybersecurity professionals. Pictured: Twinstate CEO Devi Momot speaking alongside the Assistant Attorney General for the State of Vermont and members of the Federal Bureau of Investigation about incident response for businesses.
A daunting issue, cybersecurity is without a doubt weighing on the minds of people more than it has in the past. We are in unchartered territory. But, general knowledge of the subject is still low and becoming harder to educate on due to the rapid pace of changes in technology. At times, it may even seem to some an uphill battle. Educating the public and specifically, business owners, on the severity of cyber threats and the importance of cybersecurity is happening more and more. Business owners are understanding the seriousness of the issue and are concerned for the future of their companies. With these concerns becoming a top priority for business owners, many are attending seminars like Understanding Digital Threats to learn all they can about protecting their networks.
From the basics of cybersecurity and reminding business owners to be more vigilant while conducting business over the internet to speaking in detail about specific case studies that have occurred around Vermont in recent years such as Arrow Tech Associates and Burlington Electric Deprtment, the panelists brought to light new concerns that the everyday business owner wouldn’t be aware of.
Unlike in years past, the responsibility to protect yourself and business against cyber threats is turning to that of the business owner. With cyber-attack occurrences increasing at an alarming rate and the availability of affordable defense training, there is little excuse for even the smallest of companies to have at least a basic form of protection to help protect their assets. Nowadays, law enforcement is spread thin as they are addressing more and more attacks. Therefore, any security and data logging can assist authorities in the event an incident does occur. And if an attack does happen, law enforcement looks positively on those who report the attack. Because they are victim-centric, it is possible that no financial penalties will result in reporting. With even the basic measures of protection being affordable, authorities do not think highly of those companies that have not yet made a basic investment into their network security. Conducting business without the basics is seen as intentionally neglecting your most precious assets.
Members of Burlington Electric Department speaking about their cyber experience with the Federal Burea of Investigation and Department of Justice.
Reinforced by all participants on the Government Expectations and Cooperation panel, including Twinstate CEO Devi Momot; Paul Konschak, Ph. D., Management & Program Analyst, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Cyber Division; Jay Kramer, Supervisory Special Agent, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Cyber Division; and Ryan Kriger, Assistant Attorney General, State of Vermont, it isn’t just enough for individual employees to practice safe cybersecurity. For a plan to be successful, the belief must come from the top and weave into a company’s culture. Owners, CEOs and managers alike are responsible for not only putting a plan together but creating an environment where employees also appreciate the importance of cyber safety. Having regular employee training could very well save a company from being breached.
With such strong concern about the future of cybersecurity comes the rapid growth of the next generation in fighting cybercrime. Colleges and universities are starting to put programs in place or ramp up their existing programs to cater to the next generation of cyber professionals. Champlain College who has long had a robust program focused on computer science, cybersecurity, digital forensics and the like, is increasing their efforts to prepare students even more for the world that they are about to enter after college.
Other educational institutions are following the trend as well knowing that the future of cyber lays in the hands of their students. SUNY Plattsburgh’s new Center for Cybersecurity and Technology who is partnering with professionals like Twinstate is one of the latest efforts in education to help in the battle.
Whether it’s the private sector, education or the federal government reminding businesses to be mindful of their network security, the important part is the follow through. Small to medium-sized businesses tend to be some of the last to have protection or even understand the best ways to go about it. Do your due diligence and seek more information on protecting your SMB.