IABC Houston ESIG October 2014 Luncheon: What Do You Have in Common with Neiman Marcus, Target & Adobe?

They’ve all been hacked.  You could be next.

The food At La Griglia is always a good incentive for me to attend the Houston IABC Entrepreneur Strategic Interest Group luncheon and I wanted to know what I had in common with all those big companies and especially comprehend why anyone would want to hack into my little sole proprietor business, It was beautiful day, I had some time on my hands and, I needed a break from the solitude of the solo practitioner thang. .

Joe Alapat’s credentials spoke for themselves and he did excellent job of de-mystifying the essence of his talk into understandable, bytes of information that brought me up to speed on the caveats of Internet security.  He enlightened us as to how we as consumers are affected by malware; email vulnerability, Data Breaches and IT exposures.  Many of us have used credit cards at Target, and the Home Depot breach personally affected me.

He unabashedly omitted the term “alleged ” and just called the perpetrators criminals outright.  He then detailed the well-known Target Corporation exposure earlier this year and the process that the criminals used to get that IT system.  According to Joe’s research, an innocent, unaware Target supplier in Ohio was the unsuspecting gateway. The criminals sent the Ohio vendor email encrypted with malware that eventually found it’s way into the Target Corporation system due to the routine ongoing business activities of the supplier with the Target Corporation.

That got my attention. That vendor could have been me or any of number of the communication professional’s in the room who do business with fortune 500 companies.   Joe suggested strategies, tools and ten steps for staying secure. Alapat suggested that we explore and implement tools, apps & strategies on an individual basis. He said . . . one solution will not fit all and that Apple computers are not as vulnerable to most malware as are the ubiquitous HP, Dell and other PC’s

So . . .in closing . . . I left with a new awareness of real time IT protection strategies, a satisfied palate and as always, a warm glow from the friendly companionship provided by my fellow ESIG professionals.   Thank you IABC Houston for providing such a nice environment with informative speakers, fabulous fellowship & great food .

October 9, 2014 La Griglia, 2002 W Gray St, Houston, TX