Cybersecurity Awareness Month serves as a great opportunity for businesses and organizations to revisit how they handle sensitive and confidential data and how they handle compliance, especially with changes brought by the COVID-19 pandemic and the increase in remote and hybrid workers. In a recent conversation, I talked to Eric Brown, CISO with RetroFit Technologies in New England.
Meet RetroFit Technologies New CISO, Eric Brown
Eric has over 25 years of combined experience with IT infrastructure operations, advisory services, and information security. Eric has gained worthy experience and skills from working in publicly traded and private businesses in overall IT strategy, IT operations, risk management, process improvement, remote administration, and disaster recovery.
Today, Eric serves as the Chief Information Security Officer for RetroFit Technologies. Eric also leads the Security Advisory Group, specializing in cyber security services. Before becoming CISO of RetroFit in 2021, Eric was the Founder and President of Remote Technology Management for over a decade. Eric was also the Director of Network Operations for MedSource Technologies. Most recently, Eric served as a Director of the Security Advisory Group at CliftonLarsonAllen. Eric has co-written articles on disaster recovery, remote computer monitoring products, and cyber security.
The Evolution of Cybersecurity
Over 50 years ago, the first message was transmitted over the ARPANET( the network that paved the way for the internet). During my conversation with Eric, we discussed how the internet is evolving and what it means for cybersecurity. Billions of people use the internet on a daily basis. From online videos to cloud computing, many of us use the internet to entertain us, connect us and, in some ways, protect us. The internet has certainly come a long way since the day the first message was transmitted over an online network. It is safe to say the internet will forever play a critical part in our lives.
When talking about the evolution of the cybersecurity threat landscape, we have to walk it back to the early 90s with the introduction of the World Wide Web. With the introduction of the World Wide Web, the Internet became known as the Information Superhighway. Eventually, this led to a sudden rise in electronic and internet services. During this time, commercial email services such as AOL were introduced, followed by email services like Hotmail. Unfortunately, these services and their rapid growth led to what we now know as viruses, phishing, malware, ransomware, and online fraud.
The introduction of online services and channels has paved the way for more opportunities for cybercrime to be committed. For those who have not been a part of the security industry for too long, it may be a surprise that one of the most devastating computer viruses, the ILOVEYOU virus, appeared over 20 years ago. The virus arrived in the form of an email from a known sender, and the email’s header was “ILOVEYOU”. The email instructed the receiver to read the attached document.
The Rise of the Digital Age
In the early stages of the digital age, there was no clear understanding of online threats. As a result of there not being a clear understanding of these threats, these online threats were not largely considered at the higher levels. However, the understanding of online threats has changed over time and there are more conversations about cyber threats and the need to address those threats. A serious concern for many businesses and organizations is the loss of data and the repercussions that will follow, such as monetary damage and reputational damage.
Cybercrime involves more than stealing files and entire databases. Many businesses and organizations do not use proper security systems. Businesses and organizations that use weak systems or protocols are more vulnerable to cyber threats and cyberattacks. Unfortunately, there are still many businesses and organizations that fail to take the proper action to rectify the vulnerabilities and weaknesses. This mindset has to change.
Deploying Cybersecurity Solutions
The culture within a business or organization has to change if they want to properly address cybersecurity issues. In many cases, businesses and organizations view the deployment of cybersecurity solutions as a reactive strategy. For many businesses and organizations, they view cybersecurity insurance or protection as: Why do I have to pay for something that has not happened and probably will never happen? As a result, many businesses and organizations do not include cybersecurity solutions in their budget, nor do they seek professional advice and implement security strategies. However, this typically leads to those businesses and organizations becoming a victim of a cybercrime and having to find a way to deal with the aftermath.
In order to deploy cybersecurity solutions, there has to be an understanding of the threats and weaknesses. When there is an understanding of cybersecurity, the right solutions can be implemented in a seamless manner. Businesses and organizations have to spend time monitoring systems, devices, channels, and solutions for vulnerabilities and formulating defensive strategies. When you understand the vulnerabilities and the weaknesses, you will put yourself in a better position to understand how the threats should be defended.
During my conversation with Eric, we dove deep into the world of cybersecurity and IT. There are organizations that do have strategies that provide guidance on how to review their existing defence against the current cyber landscape. There are also organizations that also have the technologies and solutions that can monitor and analyze threats that are potentially near. Users of technology will always be viewed as the last line of defence. It is important to be aware of the risks associated with the cyber world.
It is important to manage and mitigate the risks associated with the cybersecurity and IT landscapes. Every business and organization has a part to play and it is important to stay alert and informed. There is a threat with every opportunity. Online threats and opportunities have grown significantly, but the cyber industry has also grown. If you are a business or organization using the internet for any purpose, you are at risk. What can you do about it? Become more cybersecurity-focused and invest in ways to protect your operations and data.
Stuart Crawford serves as Creative Director and CEO with Sebring, FL Ulistic, a specialty MSP Marketing firm focused on information technology marketing and business development. He brings a wealth of knowledge and experience pertaining to how technology business owners and IT firms can use marketing as a vehicle to obtain success.
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