Prioritize your company’s cybersecurity

In an age when more and more companies have fallen victim to cybersecurity attacks, one company is calling in the professionals.

Parsons Corp., a construction and engineering firm, chose to fill its open position on the board of directors with a retired Air Force major general who helped create the Department of Defense’s U.S. Cyber Command and led the Air Force’s IT and online battle group. An influx of cyber attacks on large companies has prompted the firm, along with many other large companies such as General Motors and Wells Fargo, to elevate cybersecurity experts to the boardroom.

These decisions are not reactionary; a cyber attack can harm customers and cripple a business in profound ways. Think of the ramifications experienced by Target and its customers during its holiday season data breach.

A significant portion of marine businesses are not large enough for an entire board of directors. However, as company owners continue to wear many hats, knowledge about how to protect your company’s and customers’ data is key.

“There’s some liability in not taking every measure you can to protect your clients, to protect your revenue stream,” said Gary Matus, managing director at the executive recruiting agency RSR Partners. “To give people confidence, you have to be getting the best advice you can.”

Begin thinking of the large and small measures your business can take today to enhance your cybersecurity. This Forbes article is a great start for smaller marine businesses who do not have a board of directors to pad with experts. One of the interviewees, CEO of CardCash Elliot Bohm, makes this argument for not doing it all yourself but staying actively involved in the technology:

“You just have to focus on your business and not on other things which could be a distraction and could just cost you a lot of money and you’ll never be able to do a good job at it anyway. … Never have too much faith in your technology: I’ve seen many companies – especially startups – start with a service or develop certain technology and once they have their engineering teams saying ‘it works!’ they close their eyes and have full faith in it. Before they know it, it doesn’t work out the way they’d anticipated.”

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