We wrote about it last week. Cybercrime and cybersecurity. Beyond the immediacy of COVID, it is the topic that will define risk management for the 2020’s, yet many in the workers’ compensation industry have failed to appreciate the risk to their own lives and business operations. We offered a Hot Seat webinar on the topic a few weeks ago, and I am very sorry to say that it was the most poorly attended Hot Seat we’ve done. Hands down – not even close to other HS episodes on different topics. The interest just did not seem to be there, and the feeling appears to be that cyber threats are something that happen to “other people.” Trust me, as indicated in last week’s missive, cyber threats are real, and the wrong time to educate yourself about what to do is after you’ve had a critical incident.

The Workers’ Compensation Institute is producing a Virtual Cybersecurity Forum this week that many of us would benefit from attending. It is scheduled for September 16 & 17, 2020. They have an excellent agenda lined up, and the speaker list is most impressive. With a registration cost of only $49, when balanced with the information this event will provide, I think you will find it is a deal that cannot be beat.

In fact, given the threat we face from just a single data breach, it could well be considered the deal of a lifetime – especially the lifetime of your career.

Scheduled speakers include Senator Marco Rubio, Florida CFO Jimmy Patronis, and Congressman Michael Waltz. They also have Katie Arrington, Chief Information Security Officer for the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment, Florida Insurance Commissioner David Altmaier and Beverly Seay, Chair of the University of Central Florida Board of Trustees. Panelists for the two day event include:

  • Major General Joseph Brendler (U.S. Army Retired) — Former Chief of Staff for the U.S. Cyber Command & Member of the Senior Advisory Board for Ultimate Knowledge Institute
  • Christopher Cleary, PMP, CISSP — Chief Information Security Officer for the U.S. Navy
  • Frank DiBello – President & Chief Executive Officer for Space Florida
  • Bob Lentz — Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Cyber, Identity and Information Assurance & President and CEO of Cyber Security Strategies, LLC
  • Vice Admiral John McConnell (U.S. Navy Retired) — Former National Security Agency (NSA) Director & Executive Director of Cyber Florida at USF
  • Rear Admiral Paul Sohl (U.S. Navy Retired) — CEO of Florida High Tech Corridor Council
  • Vice Admiral Jan Tighe (U.S. Navy Retired) — Commander of Tenth Fleet/U.S. Navy Fleet Cyber Commander & Former Director of Navy Intelligence

According to the event website, the general topics to be covered are:

Day One

  • How to protect your data – Individuals and Companies
  • Who are the “bad guys”?
  • How to recognize and respond to a cyber breach
  • Witness a Simulated Cyber Breach
  • Preventative action steps for protection
  • Senator Marco Rubio’s keynote address about the importance of cybersecurity nationally and internationally
  • Are we prepared for a cyber attack on our critical infrastructures (energy, transportation, port access, communications, health services, utilities, information technology, and defense systems) and what will Florida look like if there is a breach resulting in a shutdown in whole or in part?

Day Two

  • These sessions will inform all companies in the defense supply chain of the U.S. Department of Defense’s Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification Program (CMMC) that is expected to be in effect for some in 2020.
  • Educational sessions will be presented on compliance with CMMC standards by Board Members and DoD staff who actually authored these new standards.
  • The Keynote Address for this day’s sessions will be made by Katherine “Katie” Arrington, the Chief Information Officer (CISO) to the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, in regards to the DoD’s expectations for CMMC.

While much of the second day agenda is focused on the DoD’s Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification Program, businesspeople from all sectors would benefit from attending. The CMMC will affect more than just those directly involved in government business transactions; and the foundation of it will likely be found in ever increasing security requirements of private companies as well.

And those companies will be your customers.

Mark my words; this is an area that you need to work to understand, and WCI has put together the most helpful program on the topic for our industry that I’ve seen. I’m not being paid to promote it – I am genuinely concerned that this is a threat not being taken seriously by enough people. Consider this: Our own statistics tell us that just in the time you have taken to read this article, the server it is housed on has received – and repelled – around 150 “brute force” attacks, which are attempts to breach and access our systems. Our network of servers sees thousands of them a day, and we know the threat is real.

You can ignore it at your peril or take active steps to educate and protect yourself and your business. Your data. Your life. Your choice. The WCI Virtual Cybersecurity Forum is a great place to start. You can learn more about the event and register here.

It’s $49. What have you got to lose? The answer should be obvious.


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