October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (NCSAM) and the Salt Lake Chamber is joining the Department of Homeland Security’s STOP. THINK. CONNECT.™  Campaign and its partners across the nation to highlight the importance of cybersecurity.

As part of recognizing Cybersecurity Awareness Month, the Salt Lake Chamber hosted a panel discussion focused on what businesses can do better when it comes to cybersecurity.

The panel included FBI Supervisory Special Agent James E. Lamadrid, Brent Williams, Dental Select President & CEO, Secuvant Security Specialist, Kevin Howard, and Utah’s Department of Technology Services Chief Information Security Officer, Phil Bates. The panel also featured John A. Adams of Ray Quinney & Nebeker as a moderator.

Each panelist made it very clear that no one is cybersecure. Whether you’re a government agency, a Fortune 500 company, or a brick and mortar small business, cyber threats are inevitable.

Utah company, Dental Select, recently performed a cybersecurity audit. Brent Williams, President & CEO of the company, discussed that there was a great deal to learn about Dental Select’s vulnerabilities. Williams suggested that investment in cybersecurity has a lot to do with preserving your organization’s reputation and is the reason why he is working to develop measure to enhance his organization’s cybersecurity posture with response plans and updated cyber policies.

Identifying vulnerabilities was also a major theme for the panel. Secuvant Security Specialist, Kevin Howard, recommends that businesses ensure software is up to date and that passwords are updated regularly. Howard specifically recommended that passwords are 12-15 characters long and are not in a dictionary, suggesting phrases as passwords to provide length and a more manageable way of memorizing it.  

The importance of passwords protection was reiterated by every panelist. The state’s Chief Information Security Officer, Phil Bates, and FBI Supervisory Special Agent, James E. Lamadrid, recommended two-factor authentication techniques. Both the FBI and the state have adopted two-factor authentication as an additional security measure.

The cost of cybersecurity is a continual hurdle for small and medium sized businesses. Special Agent Lamadrid discussed resources such as Infragard and Ic3.gov as a free outlet for small bsuinesses to stay connected and vigilant of cyber threats.

Cybersecurity awareness should not stop after October. As part of continuing this conversation, the Salt Lake Chamber will be co-hosting a National Cybersecurity Conference with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in March of 2017. The conference will host numerous elected officials, and national experts on cybersecurity. Event registration and sponsorship opportunities will open in early January of 2017.

We encourage you and your business to stay involved in this discussion all year long with Salt Lake Chamber cybersecurity resources.