By LYNN LOFTON
Cyber security is on the minds of business and professional people as issues and threats increase. No sector is immune from these issues.
Alisa Chestler, shareholder and chair of the privacy and information security team for the Baker Donelson law firm, says cyber concerns can not be ignored by any type of business.
“It affects all businesses,” she said. “When a business does not know or understand what information they have, where they have it and how it’s protected or there are no controls in place to protect and prevent hacking, they’re vulnerable to attack.”
She has been working in the privacy and information security realm for a long time and sees that realm growing. Currently, she is leading a team at the law firm that recently held a cyber security forum with Israel in Atlanta. It was the first in a series, which they hope will encourage business and trade between the U.S. and Israel. The firm plans to hold additional forums in different locations.
“We’re working with Israel because it is investing a lot of time, energy and money in technology and research regarding cyber security,” she said. “We can learn from each other.”
Chestler’s advice to businesses includes three main points:
» Get the lay of the land. Know what information you have, where it is and who is responsible for it.
» Work with experts who can advise on security measures.
» Develop a program that’s the right size for your business to put in the right controls to safeguard the information you have.
“Know your plan when an incident happens,” she said.
“We say, ‘it’s not if an incident happens, but when an incident happens,’” she said.
Chestler says there’s a lot of vulnerability to cyber problems and many times companies don’t know about laws to protect their trade secrets, information on employees and business customers, personal and medical information, and any information going out of the U.S.
“Every employer who has insurance information about employees should be concerned,” she said. “That information makes them part of the federal HIPPA regulations.”
Technology and cyber security issues continue to change rapidly. Chestler points out that looming changes beginning in October with credit cards will make a difference.
“The new chip technology will bring changes with a huge liability,” she said. “Recent credit card problems meant losses were with the banks. With the coming changes, the losses go to merchants.”
Businesses should also be concerned about smaller contractors and vendors with whom they do business.
“The Target breach came from a small heating and cooling business they were using at one of their locations,” Chestler said.
“It compromised their system.”
As cyber security threats become increasingly more common and complex, businesses and governments globally are responding by trying to improve their defense infrastructure.
“Israel is recognized as a leader in cyber security technology development,” Chestler said. “In the U.S., the American South is playing a growing role in cyber security as home to numerous cyber security emerging companies, key U.S. government cyber security units, leading cyber security research centers and top educational institutions teaching the information security leaders of the future.”