23 Jan 2018

Cybersecurity Perspective

By Gary Hoffner, Vice President, PSLA Security | PSA Cybersecurity Vice-Chair

Gary Hoffner, Vice President PSLA | PSA Cybersecurity Vice Chair

As a security provider, I always believed that the worse nightmare an integrator could face was a system malfunction or service failure that resulted in a significant loss to a customer…one that could impose extreme ensuing consequences on an integrator!  It wasn’t until a conversation I had with a colleague at an industry event in April of this year that my perspective was totally altered. His perspective is that the system failure fear-factor was now inconsequential and has been overshadowed by the cybersecurity risk we all face today. He added that if he had the choice he actually welcomed the system failure, compared to the wrath an integrator may face from a cyberattack on their company or a breech to a customer through their security apparatus. That’s what was keeping him up at night!  That perspective had a heavy impact on me and reignited in me the need to get back to work on PSLA’s cyber hygiene.  I liken Cyberattacks to cancer.  You hope you never get impacted by it but you know that one out of three people will.

As I write this nearly three years after the first PSA Cybersecurity in Forum that took place in 2015 I reflect on what we have done at PSLA to minimize our exposure to cyberattacks and to protect our customers from the same.

PSLA is a small company.  We operate in a complex high-tech environment with many moving parts and we rely heavily on the dedication and skill of our technicians and office staff, along with the support of our partners and vendors. The typical day for the PSLA leadership is a hands-on mix of sales, system engineering, project management, business administration, customer relations and HR. Priorities shift by the hour and before you realize, the day evaporates, often with some of the projected daily tasks incomplete. We are so keenly focused on covering our daily obligations and addressing the daily manifested challenges that carving out time for “nonessential” tasks is just plain difficult.

I must imagine this routine resonates with many of the PSA owners/members. Have you, do you, make time to address cybersecurity?  Is it a priority or is the effort deemed non-essential and chronically back-burnered?

At PSLA we have taken the initial steps toward protecting our network, data and customers.  We have implemented a secure method for creating, storing and sharing strong passwords for our customer’s appliances and we implore upon our team regularly to use the practices we have created to mitigate cybersecurity hazards.  But it is far from enough and there is so much more to do. For us Cybersecurity is now “hyper-essential” and can no longer be shifted or demoted down the priority chain.  Considering the gravity of the exposure to a cyberattack we hope that our fellow PSA members are making it a top priority to protect theirs and their customer’s networks and data.

As owners/members of PSA we are very fortunate to have tremendous resources at our fingertips to kickstart your cyber-hygiene efforts.  The PSA Cybersecurity Committee has compiled highly useful information and guidelines and it is easily accessible to all of us.  The ambition of the Cybersecurity Committee this year is to help demystify the content and commence with the development of a simplified roadmap to help you achieve your company’s cyber wellbeing.

Cybersecurity IS essential.  Just get started with something! Carve out the time in your schedule, put an hour or three on your weekly calendar and make the effort.  If you have already started then make the effort to get better.  You owe it to the people that work for you and depend on their jobs and you owe it to your customers.  You also owe yourself the relief and comfort to know that you have implemented a plan to mitigate potentially damaging events that could cause tremendous hardship on you and your company.  To kickstart your effort now click here.