Cybersecurity Panel Explores Best Practices in Prevention and Liability

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — Is your business safe from hackers?

In June, Bloomberg reported that a cyberattack on Colonial Pipeline Co. on April 29 was the result of a single compromised password that gave a Russia-linked cybercrime group access to the company’s computer network. A ransom note demanding cryptocurrency led Colonial to shut down the pipeline from May 7 to 12 before paying $4.4 million to the hacker group.

This raised the question of whether companies should pay such ransoms. While the federal government discourages the payment of ransoms, not doing so could have damaging consequences for a business.

In light of this, The Business Journal hosted “Cyber Summit: Avoiding Breaches, Ransoms & Costly Shutdowns” on July 13. The live, virtual event coincided with the launch of the cybersecurity feature in the MidJuly 2021 edition.

“Cybersecurity is a vitally important issue for our business community, regardless of the size of your company,” says Jeff Leo Herrmann, CEO of the Youngstown Publishing Co. “With The Business Journal’s commitment to providing businesses with the news, strategies and resources they need to help energize our regional economy, panel discussions like these are an important part of what we do.”

Professionals in information technology, insurance and law comprised the panel. They included L. Calvin Jones Cyber Risk Manager Mercy Komar, ECMSI CEO Ralph Blanco, Avrem Technologies owner and CEO Robert Merva, Steve Franckhauser, chief legal and privacy officer at Bertison-George LLC, attorney Craig Horbus of Brouse McDowell, Rea & Associates principal and director of cybersecurity services Paul Hugenberg III, and Carol Potter, president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau of Mahoning Valley.

The BBB of Mahoning Valley sponsored the event. Melissa Ames, vice president of BBB services, says cybersecurity is an important topic that all too often takes a backseat to other pressing issues in a business.

“If you have a physical storefront, you put a lot of time and thought into the security of your storefront. Security cameras, locks on the doors,” Ames says. “Oftentimes, we’re not giving the same thought and consideration to our digital storefront.”

That has resulted in BBB members coming to the organization after they’ve had a breach or feel like something is amiss, she says. While the BBB provides its members with the tools and resources to take care of such issues, the organization wants all area business-owners to have the information they need to prevent breaches from happening in the first place.

“Everyday there is something new, something to be learned,” Ames says. “This panel is going to equip you with the right tools and ideas to take actionable steps in your business.”

Copyright 2021 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.