How to Protect Your Company from Cyberattacks — and What to do if You’ve Been Hit

It took just one leaked password to breach Colonial Pipeline in the May 2021 cyberattack. A few months earlier, in March, more than 30,000 U.S. organizations were hit by hackers who used Microsoft Exchange to gain access to email accounts. In June a cyberattack took down the IT systems at JBS meat processing plant, resulting in the temporary closure of all nine of its U.S. locations. 

These headlines are just a fraction of the recent cyberattacks on companies. And experts say we’re in for a long, vulnerable ride. According to Cybercrime Magazine, ransomware attacks against businesses will occur every 11 seconds this year and cause $6 trillion in damages. By 2025, the grand total is expected to hit $10.5 trillion annually. That’s why it’s not enough to build a response-to-recovery playbook. Organizations have to have thorough, vise-like cyberattack prevention measures in place to ensure it’s (mostly) business as usual. 

“Incident and crisis management are the key pieces—business continuity is the umbrella,” InterimExecs RED Team executive and CISO, Zeeshan Kazmi says. “But who’s taking care of all the other stuff? Recovery without formal plans can’t blunt the impact. But with a plan, you face an initial crisis and recover from it. And then pretty quickly, you’ll come back.”

Here he breaks down the background on ransomware, the impact of cyberattacks, how to protect your company, and a step-by-step guide if—gulp—you’ve been hit. 

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A Surprising Source for Fraud? Check the IT Department.

No matter the industry, size, or scope, every business has to be wary of the f-word: fraud. We know virtually any department from marketing to HR is vulnerable, and the extra scrutiny typically targets finance and accounting — think embezzlement, payroll fraud, or fictitious revenue. But with the exponential growth of IT budgets‚ this unassuming area has become ripe for liabilities.

A top interim CIO from InterimExecs RED Team who has led complex IT turnarounds for Fortune 500 companies shares the warning signs of IT fraud and how to mitigate the risks.

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The Future of Financial Services and Fintech

The financial services sector has undergone significant changes in recent years.

Banks used to look at technology with hostility. According to fintech and payments expert, Peter Tapling, “five years ago, if we were to have this conversation, I would have told you that the banks look at fintech as a very much us versus them – whatever they do is stuff that we could do.”

They saw fintech companies as competitors who could take business away from them. These days however, today’s financial institutions are now eager to embrace fintech. Tapling, who spent 15 years as CEO of authentication provider, Authentify, before advising a range of financial services companies, says that the industry is “shifting a lot” and integral to this mindset move is that financial institutions are ready to partner with fintech companies so they can offer new services and penetrate new markets.

Looking at the rationale behind this, Tapling talks about the difficulty around large organizations building brand new bank initiatives. To that end he mentions, “if you look at the way we do development these days, fail fast, build something small, minimum viable product, that’s not the way a big bank works.” Instead, banks look to partnerships to fill in that gap.

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Why Every Company Needs a Technology Roadmap

Whether your category is eCommerce, automotive, health care or anything in between, to stay ahead in today’s marketplace, every company now has to also double as a technology company. The role of technology in business impacts everything from website user experience and cybersecurity to inventory management and data reporting, each vital in helping a business scale and succeed more efficiently.

“Most companies can and do manage their money and people, which is a necessity,” says Chief Information Officer (CIO) David Mitchelhill. “But unfortunately, quite often they abstain from understanding the technology, which is basically the IP of their company. If you think of a company as a building, the people you need to design the building so that it will stand up to every storm are totally different from the people who run it on a daily basis. Companies need to hire the architects.”

But navigating a force this disruptive requires strategy that isn’t just efficient, goal-oriented, and competitive, but flexible enough to adapt with rapid changes, too. So we asked Mitchelhill and fellow CIO Kevin Malover to break down the components of a technology roadmap, the value of an outsider’s perspective, and why staying agile is the key to success.

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How to Prepare for the Fourth Industrial Revolution

We stand on the brink of a technological revolution that will fundamentally alter the way we live, work, and relate to one another”, says Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum (WEF).

Innovation has been accelerating for the past 300 years, but with today’s pace of technological advances, Schwab says the speed of current breakthroughs has no historical precedent. We are now entering a 4th Industrial Revolution where when compared to previous industrial revolutions, we are evolving at an exponential rate rather than linear rate.

Schwab describes: “The First Industrial Revolution used water and steam power to mechanize production. The Second used electric power to create mass production. The Third used electronics and information technology to automate production. Now a Fourth Industrial Revolution is building on the Third, the digital revolution that has been occurring since the middle of the last century. It is characterized by a fusion of technologies that is blurring the lines between the physical, digital, and biological spheres.”

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