by Mike Estrich, Technology Strategist, Techworx

“What just happened!?! How do we fix this? And, what is a bitcoin?” were the first words, albeit slightly more colorful, out of our client’s mouth four years ago when they fell victim to a crippling ransomware attack in the middle of their busy season. For those of you unfamiliar with ransomware, it’s a computer virus that will encrypt all of the shared drives on your network and demand ransom for thousands of dollars paid in bitcoins to unlock it. In this case, the ransomware encrypted the company’s server. A server that over 60 employees needed access to on a daily basis in order to remain productive.

Luckily for our client, they had a hybrid onsite and cloud backup solution in place that allowed us to easily recover their data and remove the virus with minimal downtime. The unlucky part was that their employee had manually bypassed multiple security features to open a quarantined email to cause the infection. But what would have happened if they didn’t have a verifiable backup solution? What if they lost all their data? Imagine what the financial impact would have been to their business and what it would have taken to recover if they weren’t proactive with protecting themselves. There would have been lost revenue, lost productivity, cost to recover, and cost of intangibles such as their reputation. In fact, 60% of companies that fall victim to ransomware close their doors within 6 months of the attack because the impact is unrecoverable. And like the company in this example, 90% of cyber attacks are due to human error.

Many companies are worried about complying with the new NIST cybersecurity requirements for defense and other government contractors by the end of this year… because the regulations seem very daunting. But the reality is that 85% of the regulations are simply ensuring that a standard is met. This standard should be considered a best practice requirement for your business, non-profit or government entity to protect your company data, your clients data, and your personal data. The remaining 15% of the regulation pertains to creating processes and procedures to mitigate human error.

NWIRC, Clarion SBDC, and Northwest Commission PTAC will host a Cybersecurity Bootcamp on September 13th in Clarion. The program will provide training and an open discussion about developing a cybersecurity framework and the new DFARS cybersecurity requirements.

Mike Estrich joined TechWorx in July 2016, and previously served as an executive management consultant for 6 years helping regional manufacturers and nonprofits with maximizing profitability and growth.  He has worked in business development and management for over 16 years where he has been a catalyst in exponential sales growth. He received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Financial Economics with Specialization in Industrial and International Trade from the State University of New York at Binghamton.

Click here for more details and to register for the Cybersecurity Bootcamp.