Tech

Cyber Security Risks and What Your Bellingham Business Can Do About Them

Knowing how to protect your data from cyber attacks is an essential part of doing business online. The cost for neglecting cyber security in the U.S. is reaching a point where no company can afford to write off the risk. A Ponemon Institute Study of the costs of cybercrime in 2013 puts the annualized cost per organization at $11.56 million, with specific cases ranging from $1.3 million to $58 million. In addition, smaller businesses incurred a significantly higher cost per-capita from each attack, making cyber security even more important if your organization is still growing.

According to the study, recovery of lost data and the detection of attacks represent the highest costs from cyber crimes. With that in mind, knowing the best ways to prevent a successful attack offers the best chance to reduce losses from cyber crime. The Ponemon Institute found that companies using using security intelligence technologies experienced average savings of nearly $4 million per year. With that kind of money on the line, taking the opportunity to learn from industry experts seems like a no-brainer.

In addition to direct losses stemming from dealing with cyber attacks, secondary costs and brand image can also be at stake. P.F. Chang’s was recently the target of a class-action lawsuit claiming the restaurant chain had failed to protect its customers data. According to Legal Newsline, customers reported unauthorized withdrawals made from their accounts following a breach of data, and accused the company of failing to disclose the extent of the breach. Target was involved in a similar lawsuit last December stemming from a security breach which occurred during the holiday shopping season.

Even major tech companies aren’t immune to cyber risks. A well publicized example is the recent breach of several iCloud accounts belonging to celebrities such as Jennifer Lawrence. The breach resulted in the spread of nude photographs of the celebrities acquired from their accounts, and led to widespread scrutiny of Apple’s security practices involving iCloud accounts. The Apple brand is large enough to withstand this kind of bad publicity, especially given that the attacks were the result of a system vulnerability which lasted less than a day. Smaller businesses, however, would do well to keep these kinds of lapses from occurring in the first place.

The Technology Alliance Group (TAG) for Northwest Washington, Whatcom Community College, and Western Washington University are jointly hosting a Cyber Risk Summit on October 30th at Whatcom Community College to help local businesses gain that knowledge. The Summit offers “ a day of education and talks from our region’s experts on the costs and opportunities that come with cyber risk for businesses.” Attending could be one of the best investments your business makes this year.

The Cyber Risk Summit is a great opportunity for local businesses to get ahead of the curve on cyber security and avoid the costs to finances and reputation with techniques and advice from local and national industry experts. The summit involves a full day of talks, panels, and breakout sessions ranging from trends in cybercrime to communication strategies for when security issues arise in your company.

The speakers themselves represent a diverse group of backgrounds in the field. Local speakers include Molly Monahan, co-owner of Sirius Investigations, and Jim Straatman, an executive and security lead at Logos Bible Software. Federal experience is also represented by Timothy Wallach, FBI Supervisory Special Agent currently assigned to lead the Cyber Task Force in the FBI’s Seattle Field Office.

The breakout sessions allow attendees to get the most relevant information for their business. At the end of the day attendees can also attend a networking session to build ties with other local businesses and strengthen the region’s overall approach towards cybersecurity.

For more information on the Cyber Risk Summit, or to register, visit their page at
http://www.cyberrisksummit.org/. Tickets are $195, a relatively small investment given the price of falling prey to cyber risks.

Tobias Osterhaug

Tobias Osterhaug

Tobias is a full-time contributor to Bellingham Business News, covering local business events, tech news, and advice for job seekers in the Bellingham area. He graduated from Western Washington University with a double major in History and Chinese Language & Cultural Studies, and has previously worked as a coordinator in Western’s Writing Center.

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