Cybersecurity Association of Maryland Arms Businesses with Solutions
Cyber attacks seem to have become a staple in news headlines. Victims range from the hosting service Dropbox to former Secretary of State Colin Powell. Whether it’s a large corporation, small business or family home, a data breach is not a matter of if, but when.
“We’ve been moving toward connectivity with lightning speed. The only problem is, we didn’t bake security into hardly any of it,” explains Art Jacoby, founder and chairman of the Cybersecurity Association of Maryland, Inc (CAMI). “So most of the software we use, our computers, our phones, are not secure.”
That kind of vulnerability can have dire consequences. A Ponemon Institute study of 383 organizations found that the average consolidated total cost of a data breach in 2016 was $4 million, or $158 per lost or stolen record. And that’s not taking into account intellectual property loss or the toll on a company’s reputation.
So why aren’t businesses more proactive when it comes to cybersecurity? Possibly due to the relative newness of the concept. People may simply be unaware of the frequency with which data breaches occur and the consequences they carry. Another misconception is that breaches only occur at large corporations, or that firewalls and malware alone offer sufficient protection.
“A lot of companies say ‘Oh, our IT team has it covered,’” says CAMI executive director Stacey Smith. Although IT departments and service companies may know more about cybersecurity than your average employee or business owner, it’s most likely not their area of expertise.
It is, however, the expertise of a multitude of individuals and criminal organizations out there looking to access data. Hackers are operating with robust funds, sophisticated tactics, compelling incentives and readily accessible tools.
All it takes is an employee falling for a phishing scam or a receptionist following through on an email she thought was from the CEO, asking her to transfer money to an outside account, to break down a company’s defenses. “It’s always easier to attack than defend,” Jacoby warns.
The most likely scenario, however, is that companies just don’t know who to call for help. And that’s where CAMI steps in.
Founded in 2015, CAMI (www.mdcyber.com) is a non-profit trade organization originally formed to promote the Buy MD Cyber program, a “buy local” initiative to connect Maryland’s cybersecurity companies to potential cybersecurity service and product buyers in the state. Since then, CAMI has expanded its reach, realizing Maryland’s potential as a global leader in the cybersecurity arena.
“It makes sense that Maryland would be encouraging businesses everywhere to be looking to Maryland for their cybersecurity products and solutions,” Smith says. The state’s proximity to the National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence (NCCoE) and experience protecting government assets combined with the area’s prestigious academic institutions and accessibility to larger cities like New York, D.C., and Philadelphia, solidify its position as the epicenter of the cybersecurity industry on a global as well as a local scale.
CAMI provides a searchable database of 261 cybersecurity companies in the area. The website also offers a list of resources and a free downloadable guide to addressing common security gaps. In addition to hosting ongoing in-person events and programs, the organization is currently working to partner with local business associations to educate members on cybersecurity and introduce them to Maryland cybersecurity companies. “We want to protect the free world while bringing sales and jobs to Maryland,” Jacoby says.
A data breach will happen, if it hasn’t already. What businesses large and small need to consider is how big that breach might be, how the company will react and what can be done right now to soften the blow. Luckily, businesses in and around Maryland have access to the most talented workforce and the best products and solutions in the cybersecurity industry.
With CAMI, they’re now that much easier to find. I95