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

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

By Kelly Weatherwax

When the election and inauguration are over, we will need to go through a healing process, as the country is more divided than it has ever been during an election, explained Ron Fournier, associate publisher of Crain’s Detroit Business. Fournier moderated a ‘National Election Outlook’ panel discussion between Truscott Rossman’s CEO and Principal, Kelly Rossman-McKinney, and President and Principal, John Truscott.

“There is a lot of anxiety among the vote. Institutions that are supposed to be keeping us together are not adapting to the demographic and economic changes as fast as we are being forced to change. In turn, we as a people are losing faith in institutions,” Fournier said.

People are sensing a huge divide, even while part of our economies are doing really well. Although, with all the change being experienced there is a lot of people still being left behind.

“We all, as business owners, have the power to help heal the country coming out of this campaign – part of it is how employees are treated, some of it is the little things that make people feel appreciated. Now, with the turmoil and the economy involved, a lot of people feel left behind, and we should do what we can to lift people up,” said Truscott.

Pointing out that it is a slower process in getting things done in Michigan because of reforms such as Terminance, Fournier begged the question “How do we fix this?”

“We need to continue to stay engaged long after the election and after the inauguration. The voter out there does not feel like they have the avenue to voice their concern and we have to make sure they know they do have channels. That’s on the legislators to get out and hold town meetings with constituents. I encourage all of you to hold meetings in your town to bring in your congressperson, state legislators to make sure the folks that work for you feel like they have the same access to the political leaders,” said Rossman-McKinney.

The panel was a part of the annual Middle Market CEO Summit, convened by Bank of America, Deloitte and the Detroit Regional Chamber to address issues facing middle market business leadership.

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

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

 

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

By Daniel Lai

In today’s fast-paced world of instant gratification, innovation is not always easy but it is necessary if businesses are going to succeed in the marketplace. That was the message that kicked off the annual Middle Market CEO Summit hosted by Bank of America, Deloitte and the Detroit Regional Chamber last Thursday.

“Innovation is not born from freedom, it is born from constraint,” said Jeff DeGraff, professor of business administration at University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business. “The worst growth strategy for any business is to have an increasing share of a decreasing market. The risk-takers who reimagine their industry, who anticipate and feel their way towards the future will be the ones who survive and thrive in new environments.”

Regardless of size, DeGraff said business leaders can spark innovation among employees by following a few simple steps:

  • Find, develop and connect the best people
  • Establish a sustainable high-performing culture
  • Engage a wide array of expertise and capability
  • Create a collaborative learning environment

The message resonated with the audience of more than 60 CEOs and C-level professionals who gathered at MotorCity Casino Hotel for a half-day Summit focused on issues and solutions for the middle market. Topics ranged from cybersecurity and protecting data from both inside and outside the organization, to the importance of cultivating a strong CEO and CFO relationship.

“(The Summit) is about creating a lasting and influential conversation amongst our middle market leaders on what is needed to grow their companies and the obstacles they may face on that journey,” said Mark Davidoff, Michigan managing partner for Deloitte and Chamber Board member.

Other topics throughout the day focused on the national water infrastructure crisis and how Michigan can lead the way in building healthy communities through public and private collaboration, as well as the 2016 presidential election and its potential impact on business.

In addition to DeGraff, keynote speakers and panelists included: Quicken Loans’ John Fikany, EHIM Inc.’s Mindi Fynke, Deloitte’s Frank Friedman, George Hawkins of D.C. Water, Henry Ford Health System’s Wright Lassiter III, Nexcare Health Systems’ Mike Perry, Walbridge’s John Rakolta Jr., Paul Rodgers of TARDEC, Joan Rose from the Center for Water Sciences, Kelly Rossman-McKinney and John Truscott of Truscott Rossman, Rush Group’s Andra Rush, and Bank of America’s James Scopis.

Additional coverage from the Middle Market CEO Summit:

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

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

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