Last year, Ginni Rometty, the chair, president and CEO of IBM, told a developers conference that “data is the next natural resource in this world. And, as a natural resource, it is your basis for a competitive advantage. And, therefore, by definition, cyber is its greatest threat.” She has also called cybercrime “the greatest threat to every company in the world.”
Those are some alarming words - especially coming from someone in her position.
And the numbers support her argument:
In 2016, cybercrime losses totaled $3 trillion worldwide- and that number is expected to triple to $6 trillion by 2021.
94 percent of American lawmakers believe hackers are getting smarter, increasing the risk of a breach.
43 percent of all cyber attacks target small businesses with fewer than 250 workers.
80 percent of small and medium sized businesses do not have email or data protection in place.
And that is, in large part, why we are launching the CYBER24 podcast.
Over the past decade, my colleague Wesley Smith and I have worked on public policy issues ranging from immigration to healthcare, from transportation to education and many more. As executives at Utah’s largest and longest-serving business association, the Salt Lake Chamber, we got to know a lot about the various challenges business leaders face - where they see opportunity and what concerns them. We both left the Chamber to work as members of Gov. Gary Herbert’s senior staff - again advising on a variety of policy issues.
One interesting thing: when you spend time with the governor, you get some really great tours of local businesses. We got to see how Utah companies make everything from gun silencers to mattresses, how they refine their services to meet market needs, and how hard their management works to make sure their employees are happy and productive. We also get to know more about the threats they understand and those they need to understand better.
The issue that kept coming up over and over in our discussions? Cybersecurity.
More and more we read headlines about WannaCry, Russian interference in our elections, Equifax losing critical data on 143 million Americans and then leaving a lot to be desired when it comes to offering restitution.
Most business leaders know cybersecurity is a problem, but most convince themselves the “tech guys” will take care of it.
While the threats are real and the challenges daunting, the topic itself shouldn’t be scary. The bad part is, talk about cybersecurity dives quickly into unfamiliar acronyms and complex jargon. So, we created CYBER 24 to help bridge that gap between what you know you should know and what you don’t know you should know.
Think of this as Cybersecurity 101 for business leaders, policy makers and anyone else. Every week we will discuss cybersecurity headlines and then take a deeper dive into some issues you want to understand better - that you need to understand better - with experts.
Here’s the best part. I’m not an expert either. But, like you, I want to understand this issue better. What are the threats? How do I protect my business or my family? What is my government doing to help?
We’ve partnered with the Utah Department of Technology Services, the Utah Department of Public Safety, the Utah Attorney General’s Office, Secuvant and others to help bring you the most essential insight you need to protect yourself, your constituency or your business.
We’ll start with some basics and work our way up. Mostly, we’ll try to make this engaging.
We encourage you to subscribe to our show wherever you get podcasts - Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Stitcher… and visit our website where we’ll you can find our show, informative blog posts and other resources over the coming weeks. You can find us at CYBER24.us and right here on UtahPolicy.com.
With that… let’s get to it. Click here to listen to Episode One: Simple Steps to Online Safety.
In our premiere episode, Smith and I take a closer look at the aforementioned Equifax breach and subsequent response. I then sit down with Matt Sorensen of Secuvant and Sgt. Jeff Plank of the state’s Cyber Task Force to talk about top cyber concerns of 2017, steps you can take to protect against these concerns and what to do if you fall victim to a cybercrime.