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Cybersecurity Starts at the Top: Why Middle Market CEOs Must Lead

By Daniel Lai 

Cybersecurity is one of the biggest obstacles CEOs face today, according to James Scopis, senior vice president and information security executive at Bank of America. Delivering keynote remarks at the second annual Middle Market CEO Summit, Scopis said that while most senior level managers understand the risk of a cyberattack on a company’s bottom line, security is often not top of mind.

The event was hosted by Bank of America, Deloitte and the Detroit Regional Chamber on Oct. 27 at MotorCity Casino Hotel.

“Security can no longer be an afterthought; it is a competitive advantage in today’s market,” Scopis said. Companies of all sizes face an onslaught of breaches daily, he continued, with most coming from employees, criminals, hacktivists and nation states.

“Threats are evolving — they are cheaper, easier and more anonymous,” Scopis said, pointing to the 2012 attack on Saudi Aramco. The emailed virus erased three-quarters of the company’s corporate data files within hours and caused massive panic among investors.

So what can employers do?

Taking a proactive approach and anticipating threats is key, Scopis said. In addition, it is up to leadership to adopt a culture of security and disseminate it across the company.

Four ways businesses can protect themselves include: keeping software and systems up-to-date, removing administrative privileges from employees’ computers and tablets, controlling vendor network access, and raising employee awareness.

Other tips include:

  • Using online fraud protection software
  • Protecting devices from viruses and online threats via an anti-virus product
  • Not opening attachments from unknown people or organizations
  • Not downloading unfamiliar software
  • Not sharing passwords or pass-phrases

Additional coverage from the Middle Market CEO Summit:

Regional CEOs Tackle Innovation, Cybersecurity and Challenges for the Middle Market

Jeff DeGraff: Don’t Wait for the Next Best Thing to Pass You By, Innovate

Business Leaders are Called On to Help Heal the Country When the Election is Over