Tampa Accounting Firm and Bank Partner Up to Offer Cyber Defense Panel Discussion for Small Businesses

Tampa, Fla. (November 17, 2016) Prida Guida & Company and GulfShore Bank hosted their first panel discussion for their ongoing Small and Medium-sized Business (SMB) Series: Strategic Cyber Defense for Companies: Practical Advice for Living with Cyber Risk on November 10, 2016 at Mise en Place restaurant.

The expert panel consisted of speakers from Carlton FieldsDigital Hands and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Panelists discussed emerging strategies for cyber defense and advice for living with cyber risk with a mix of audience members from small to medium-sized companies.

Luciano Prida, Jr., a partner at Prida Guida & Company said, “This was and is a very important subject as I see that the future of B2B commerce will require business partners answering a big question – what is your cyber hygiene?”

According to the panel, small businesses have fewer resources to invest in security. This increases their risk not just for the company, but also for their stakeholders.

Jack Clabby, a shareholder at Carlton Fields, and a former federal prosecutor said, “Small and medium-sized businesses should not overlook the wealth of free resources available from the federal government, whether it is through establishing a relationship with your local FBI or Secret Service office, or leveraging the myriad online resources available from US-CERT.”

Charlotte Baker, CEO of Tampa-based Digital Hands said, “There is growing importance being placed on how companies and their employees manage their behaviors in the connected world.

Baker, who started Tampa’s Digital Hands to provide IT security services 14 years ago went on to discuss the importance of cyber security operations and outsourced security services to “fill the gap” for the small and medium-sized business. “Small and medium-sized organizations don’t have the resources nor the knowledge to protect and defend their companies and their partners, which is why they should look to niche security operations companies for help,” said Baker.

According to Joe Swanson, a Tampa-based attorney at Carlton Fields, one of the easiest and most affordable actions a company can make to protect its assets is to train employees. “Companies protect their assets by deploying a two-factor authentication to control access to their network. For example, install a whole-disc encryption for your company laptops, and deploy the policy of least privilege – that is, don’t give the summer intern administrative rights to the system,” Swanson said.

Here are some of the most pressing cyber security statistics to take into consideration as you plan for your cyber health:

• Over 169 million personal records were exposed in 2015, stemming from 781 publicized breaches across the financial, business, education, and government and healthcare sectors. – “ITRC Data Breach Reports – 2015 Year-End Totals” | ITRC
• As much as 70 percent of cyber attacks use a combination of phishing and hacking techniques and involve a secondary victim. – “2015 Data Breach Investigations Report”
• 74 percent of CISOs are concerned about employees stealing sensitive company
information. – SANS 2015 Survey on Insider Threats
• For the fourth month in a row, account hijackings rank on top of the known Attack Vectors

Best practices for safeguards include:

• Make backup copies of important data and information;
• Change default credentials for all systems, and require individual user accounts for all employees;
• Limit access to data and information and limit the authors;
• Change passwords regularly;
• Protect information, computers and networks from viruses, spyware, ransomware and other malicious code;
• Provide firewall security for your IT infrastructure;
• Control physical access to your computers and network components; and
• Secure your Wi-Fi networks.

Prida Guida & Company plans to continue hosting additional talks in its SMB Discussion Series. “Our firm believes the information provided in the series will be a great investment for our clients and staff,” Prida said.

For more information on the SMB Discussion Series, contact Prida Guida & Company by phone at 813- 226-6091 or visit their website at www.pridacpas.com.