Checked your IT Security Vitals Lately? Go to WhirlWind’s Cyber Security Health Experts

cyber
The prevalence of cyber security attacks is alarming, with data breaches occurring across all industries and company sizes. Privacy laws and government regulations have been set up to protect data, but often a combination of “human oversight” and “technological failures” results in breaches. The consequences of a data breach go beyond the event itself and may include legal as well as financial ramifications.

In this blog we delve into the devastating consequences of cyber attacks, the need for vigilance, and the value in keeping a finger on the pulse of the IT security vitals of your systems. Choosing the right Cyber Security Posture Assessment team is key, ensuring the health of your IT systems and saving you time, money, and unnecessary headaches in the process, and most importantly, protecting your most valuable data assets.

Impact of a Cyber Attack on your business
A cyber attack on your business can lead to  devastating consequences, including:

  • Financial: The true cost of a cyber attack goes beyond the immediate losses suffered in breach notifications and protection costs, including regulatory fines, lost sales and repair costs. The impact could ripple for years if cyber criminals access your strategic assets or intellectual property. In May 2017, Target paid out an $18.7 million settlement over a large-scale data breach that took place in 2013. The company said that the total cost of the breach, however,  was over $202 million. In some cases of ransomware, even the immediate payout can be costly, as in the case of the South Korean firm, Nayana, that paid over a $1 million dollars in Bitcoins.
  • Legal: The government may launch an investigation into a large-scale data breach, to determine if the company had reasonable security protections in place. Was due diligence demonstrated or was it gross negligence?
  • Reputation:  The most significant cost is tied to the loss of trust from your customers. Online businesses can face a significant loss of reputation from cyber attacks, which eventually impacts revenue as well.

Beware of Regulators 
If the impact of loss on your business is not enough of a motivating experience, consider the regulations around cybersecurity. In the U.S., the three main cybersecurity regulations are the:

  • 1996 Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)
  • 1999 Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act
  • 2002 Homeland Security Act, which included the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA).

These three regulations mandate that healthcare organizations, financial institutions, and federal agencies should protect their systems and information. More recently, there are additional Cybersecurity requirements mandated under Defense Federal Acquisition Regulations Supplement (DFARS) Subpart 204.73. If your systems are attacked and compromised, you want to make sure any investigation would show  due diligence by your organization to protect your IT assets and data. If your business has clients in the European  Union, then your organization is subject to the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR).

In demonstrating due diligence, keep in mind the three most important cybersecurity principles for protecting IT Systems which are Confidentiality, Integrity, and Availability commonly referred to as the CIA triad. Given the steep cost of cybersecurity attacks, we recommend conducting a regularly scheduled Cyber Security Posture Risk Assessment as a best practice approach to keeping a finger on the pulse of your organization’s IT systems to ensure data confidentiality and integrity, while maintaining the highest level of system availability for your clients and stakeholders.

WhirlWind’s Cyber Security Health Experts
At WhirlWind Technologies (WhirlWind) we have assembled a team of experts in Cyber Security, Network Engineering and Project Management to deliver a detailed and actionable Cyber Security Posture Assessment. Our team will:

  • Assess your overall security/network architectures
  • Scan and analyze your network traffic, IT devices, and IT systems
  • Identify and document your asset vulnerabilities
  • Identify internal and external threats
  • Provide actionable insight into steps you need to take for remediation in order of priority
  • Model your policies for information security within your organization in line with the CIA triad.

Our distinguishing factors include:

  • Fast Turnaround on Service: A lot of our clients hear the word “assessment” and become immediately concerned with the amount of time it would take. Our team can perform a full assessment in as little as 10 days with minimal impact on your operations and staff.
  • Actionable Data: The tools we use provide near real-time visualization of a client’s network and systems for situational analysis and proactive vulnerability assessment and prioritized remediation. Our reports will identify and prioritize the high-risk elements in your IT systems footprints including vulnerabilities, processes, employee behavior, and policies you have in place.
  • Reliability: Our proprietary footprinting process looks at all facets of your IT systems, maximizing the reliability and accuracy of our results in identifying and analyzing risks (threats and vulnerabilities) and providing recommendations.
  • Compliance: Government agencies are required to follow Cyber Security regulations and guidelines, and private companies have to comply with certain laws (domestic and international).
  • Trusted Long Term Partners: We create long term relationships with our clients, so we can help them protect the health of  their IT security. We will create a best practices checklist to ensure you have the daily, monthly, quarterly, bi-annual and annual vital checkup to keep your IT systems secure. We also offer ongoing follow-ups and post-remediation assessments as well. We are committed to creating sustainable relationships with our clients and to work with them for the long-run.

Do you consider cyber security threat serious enough to warrant action? What other recommendations do you have to take a pulse on your IT Security vitals? Leave us a comment!

-Mark Fields is the Sr. Vice President of Technology and Innovation at WhirlWind Technologies.Mr. Fields is an expert Information Technology (IT) leader with over 25 years of professional experience. He is a change agent with a proven track record of achievement in designing and implementing IT Enterprise Infrastructures, cyber security engineering, and cloud system architectures.

Spreading the WhirlWind Cheer

whirlwindcheer

For our latest philanthropy project at the end of the year, we decided to include the entire company. This is a time of year that calls for gratitude, reflection and generosity to those less fortunate than us. We set up collection boxes at different locations, and gave our WhirlWind techies an option to donate toys for the Toys for Tots program. We collected and donated over 150 toys this year!

Toys for Tots is a program run by the US Marine Corps Reserve that distributes toys to children whose parents cannot afford to buy them gifts for Christmas. “When you donate to Marine Toys for Tots you are helping to bring the joy of Christmas and send a message of hope to America’s less fortunate children.” is their tagline and their impact is felt in homes all over America. Founded in 1947, the Toys for Tots program has delivered 548 million toys, supporting 251 million children to date.

And the difference is felt. Cindy, a gift recipient from California, shared a heart moving story of her memories.  “Toys for Tots was the only reason I received a gift for Christmas each year as a child. I remember my dad waiting in line the whole day in order for me and my siblings to have something to open on Christmas. I have such great memories thanks to this program. Thank you to everyone who donates to this great cause.”

The impact of working collectively to help others can not be overstated. As reiterated by a community organizer in Georgia, “…The Toys for Tots Program is a blessing for the community we serve. We have had families tell us that they would not have had anything under the tree if it was not for this program. There is so much work to do, but as long as we take a piece and someone else does the same, eventually we can reach as many needs as possible.”

Thank you to all the WhirlWind techies that contributed! With this project we want to emphasize we can all embrace WhirlWind’s purpose to empower others. Our core values include #Have the mindset of an entrepreneur (Empower) and #Take the Initiative (Commitment) and together we will work to empower as many people as possible!

The best gifts are sometimes the unexpected ones! What is your best (or most unexpected) gift to date?

Have a Great School Year: By WhirlWind

Oakland project

“What is your favorite humanitarian effort?” I posed this question during our Monthly Leadership & Management meeting in August. I wanted to get a sense of what was important to our leaders at WhirlWind Technologies, and to vote on our next philanthropy project. The answers ranged from mental health advocacy to global relief,  but what seemed to resonate the most is the topic of youth and education and helping under served communities.

The timing of the discussion coincided with the beginning of the 2018 school year. By the end of the discussion, we voted to donate school supplies to children in need. We picked Oaklands Elementary School, in Laurel Maryland, because it is a Title I school. Title I is part of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA)  which supports schools with large concentrations of low-income students in meeting its students’ educational goals.

Eight students in total were selected, a boy and a girl from 2nd grade, 3rd grade, 4th grade and 5th grade respectively. The classrooms we chose were also being taught by new teachers to the school, and we hoped equipping the students in their classrooms would also ease the teacher’s experience.

Being a mom with a school age child, this cause is close to my heart. I took my son to go shopping for supplies at Walmart. We printed the Prince George’s county school system list of suggested school supplies and spent the day selecting the book bags and supplies, while discussing our civic responsibility and the importance of lending a hand to people who are struggling in our community.

A little goes a long way too, as we heard back from Candice Nicholson, the 2nd grade teacher “Since I work at a Title 1 school, kids always need supplies that their parents can’t afford. Well, WhirlWind saved the day, when I was able to give supplies to not one, but two students.”  

Meanwhile, Taylor Mcleod, the 3rd grade teacher spoke from a new teacher’s perspective, “This is my first year of teaching. I had no idea how hard teaching is. I didn’t know that all parents don’t buy their kids school supplies. That made me sad because I can’t afford school supplies for all the students in my class. Thank you WhirlWind, for taking some of that stress away from this first year teacher.”

“Thank you, WhirlWind, for supporting the needs of our students,”  Jewel Preston, the Principal of the school, added. “ Companies like yours make my job easier.”

I am proud to be part of a company that takes its social responsibility seriously. Our vision includes empowering our community and future leaders. Our purpose is to help people to understand and fulfill their potential, and sometimes that involves removing barriers so they can succeed. In our latest project, we hope giving students the tools they need will free them to focus on the important task at hand: learning.

What’s your favorite philanthropy effort? What does giving mean to you?

Empowering the Community: WhirlWind Style (Part II)

 

Empowering the Community-WhirlWind Style


As I sat in the judge’s panel, I could feel the electric excitement in the air. 11 youths, representing nine different businesses, were pitching their innovative ideas in the Teen Biz Challenge, held by the Office of the Mayor, Catherine E. Pugh, in Baltimore. The competition was inspired by the popular “Shark Tank” television series and the teens were competing for up to $6,500 in startup funds for their “big ideas”.

The teens came prepared, armed with creativity, talent and cool ideas for businesses, from the OmegaBrush, an innovative dental hygiene product presented by Mahmoud Shelby (18 years old), to Miracle Box, a subscription service for healthy food delivery presented by Sa’Niya Sherman (16 years old). Kamri Moses (14 years old) presented a mouthwatering array of smoothies and assorted beverages for his KR Smoothies business.

The pitch that received the highest level of funding came from a recent high school graduate and current freshman student at Stevenson University, Ciera Smith (18 years old). Ciera’s business, Naturally Me is a monthly subscription service for feminine hygiene products. Ciera Smith received $6,500 in the accelerator program and each business that pitched received at least $1,000 in funding.

All the teens that pitched were graduates of the 2018 Y.E.S. (Youth Entrepreneurship Startup) Summer Program. WhirlWind was a Gold Sponsor this year, and as I sat there in the judge’s panel, I thought the impressive presentations were a testament to the important work facilitated by the  D.R.E.A.M. (Developing Resources to Empower All Minds) Foundation.

At WhirlWind, we fleshed out what empowerment means to us and came to the core of helping people to understand and fulfill their potential. Showing up for the teens and serving as judge and mentor gave me a front seat view into the next generation’s incredible potential. It is also important for us to engage local talent and businesses, for they translate into a stronger economy and contribute to thriving communities. And for this, I am excited to do the work I do.

What comes to mind when you think of “helping people to understand and fulfill their potential?” What inspires you when it comes to empowering yourself and others?

Related Press Release: WhirlWind Technologies CEO as a Panel Judge for the Teen Biz Challenge

Empowering the Community – WhirlWind Style

Our dream foundation

I am passionate about empowerment, which is emerging as one of WhirlWind’s foremost core values. We are exploring the idea of empowering all of our stakeholders, by listening to their needs and identifying their opportunities and challenges.

So  I was excited when I got a call from a local Prince George’s County nonprofit called the D.R.E.A.M. (Developing Resources to Empower All Minds) Foundation to sponsor the 2018  Y.E.S. (Youth Entrepreneurship Startup) Program. The Y.E.S program is a five-week, all expenses paid summer camp for Baltimore City high school students, aimed at entrepreneurship  and financial literacy. WhirlWind became a Gold sponsor for the event, allowing the students to participate at no cost, including lunches, field trips and lectures from other entrepreneurs.

This summer, the Y.E.S. program hosted a total of 26 high school students. Y.E.S. participants learned key concepts of running and operating a business, from creating an idea, to competitor analysis, market trends, value proposition and scalability. The students met with 21 entrepreneurs from diverse backgrounds, who shared their success stories and struggles. The students also visited National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) to study black inventors and pioneers.

The graduates of the Y.E.S. Summer program in 2018 will participate in the Teen Biz Challenge held by the Office of the Mayor, Catherine E. Pugh, in Baltimore. The teenagers will present their ideas to a panel of judges, including myself. They will pitch their businesses for a final round of up to $5,000 in startup funds.

I connected with a lot of bright and promising students with lofty ideas, and that was really inspiring. We are in the process of crafting our Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG) to empower 10,000 people in 10 years, working on it through one relationship at a time. Sponsoring the Y.E.S. program  is a step in the right direction. I look forward to more.

What does empowerment mean to you? In what ways can you demonstrate the core value of empowerment in your own roles (at WhirlWind and outside)?

Related Press Release: WhirlWind Technologies, LLC Headlines the Y.E.S. Program as a Gold Level Sponsor