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Risk factor

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  • | 11:00 a.m. June 30, 2017
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It's 10 p.m. Do you know where your data is?

Sarasota-based IT services company SouthTech hopes so. The firm, with that timely thought in mind, hosted a cyber security seminar June 20 dubbed “The War for Your Data.”

The seminar was a chance for clients and others in the community to learn about the risks facing business and personal data. Agents from the FBI spoke at the event, as well as Rob Krug from internet security company SonicWall and Mike Semel of security consulting firm Semel Consulting.

Krug, who calls himself an “ethical hacker,” discussed recent hacks plaguing major companies and offered tips on avoiding hacks.

Step one? Turn on two-factor authentication on Google, Amazon, social media accounts, online banking accounts and more.

He also advocates broad training. “You want to make sure all employees, including C-level, have cyber training,” Krug says. And training should be ongoing, he says.

Another simple solution — cover up the cameras and microphones built into computers. Krug also says people should keep in mind computers can be compromised in hotel rooms, coffee shops and other public areas when using Wi-Fi. Home Wi-Fi can also be compromised, so he advocates ensuring that's secured, too.

During the seminar, Semel held up a gold bar to make his most pressing point: “Stop thinking of data as data. Start thinking of data as gold.”

He suggests starting with a risk assessment. “Security is a journey, it's not a destination,” he says.

Business owners can aim to prevent a triggering event by encrypting data; managing old tapes and retired computers and servers; and following policies and procedures, he says. Companies should also ask vendors, including lawyers, for evidence of IT security on their end.

In the event of a data breach, Semel says companies should follow an established incident response plan, including notifying clients, customers or patients of the breach.

SouthTech President Paul Hoffman, who introduced the speakers at the seminar, tells Coffee Talk he thinks the biggest takeaway for companies is this: “Security and protecting their data requires teamwork between IT, the company and all their employees.”


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