October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month

If you have been familiar with Interstates over the past years, I’m hoping it has been evident that we take safety very seriously. We want all our employees to go home in the same condition in which they came to work. It’s a mindset.  Eventually, you just “do what it takes” to be safe. To help encourage that mindset, there are weekly safety calls, monthly reminders, and company meeting agenda items that keep it front of mind.

While we have talked about cybersecurity for a long time, about two years ago we tried to create that same level of safety awareness around cybersecurity. Every company meeting had an agenda item around the individual’s role to help protect our systems from a cyber risk. The actions taken by individuals within an organization are the largest risk that businesses have for being exposed to cyber-attacks.

Not only is it important for individuals to do what they can to protect against cyber exposure, but it is also important for businesses as well. I recently read that 40% of manufacturing businesses don’t have a formal cybersecurity plan, and on average, hackers have infiltrated a system 200 days before they are detected.

So, as a business leader, what should you do? First, realize there is enough money in trying to gain individual information that people can spend enormous amounts of time trying to access your personal information as well as your corporate information. Hacking is a profitable business and as long as it pays well, people will continue to do it.  Second, have a plan. I have heard many experts say that it is not a matter of if you will get hacked, it is just a matter of when. Making it difficult for hackers to gain access will help you avoid those thieves that are looking for an easy payday. Part of your plan should be keeping your technology current with the latest patches and upgrades. Software providers continue to respond quickly, helping to eliminate known exposures.

Once you realize you have been hacked, executing your plan should reduce your exposure, downtime, and financial burden. Having a response plan allows you to be resilient. Quickly getting your systems back up and running will minimize the effect on your business and reduce the time for your business to be “back in business”.

As the title indicates, October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month. It might be a good time to update the plan you already have, or create one if you are one of the 40% who doesn’t yet have one.

And hey, be safe out there!


Jack Woelber, Interstates President