I will make a prediction for 2022: the current massive cybersecurity breach, the Log4j exploit, will not be the last one or the worst one. If there is money to be made and/or secrets to be kept, we will fight against cybercriminals. Once it was highwaymen robbing carriages and stagecoaches. As transportation changed, those activities evolved into car and airplane hijackings. Today, obvious and direct-assault computer hacking has evolved into devious and too often ingenious ways to penetrate the most robust electronic security defenses. So now what?
Okay, we know we can’t stop using technology. The technology we have so far has been a boon to productivity, to education, to medicine—the list is long. I think we all have some nostalgia for the days when life seemed simpler and less frenetic. But how would we flourish in this modern world without Google searches and Zoom connections? Let’s take a deep breath and resolve to learn what to do to be safe. Just as door locks and combination safes evolved into electronic security systems with 24/7 monitoring, today’s cybersecurity is aggressive against new methods of attack. As a business owner you don’t have to understand how it all works, you just need to know a specialist who can assure you that it will work.
Let me offer you a statistic I know is certain. In my twenty years as a technology manager and consultant, my company, Aptica, has never once started with a new client who had nothing wrong with their current tech system. Never. I’ve seen mystery-configured networks that hobbled productivity. I’ve seen hardware that had stopped functioning but no one knew it, and software that had not been updated in more than five years. I learned in my first year as an IT startup business two key truths. First, you can’t know what you don’t know. Also, understanding technology is a specialty profession. You don’t want your primary care doctor to operate on your appendix. You probably don’t want your cousin the plumber to do your taxes, even though he was always good at math.
Remember the battle scenes in the film, Braveheart? Two armies faced off in an open field. At the signal, they started screaming and running towards each other to fight hand-to-hand to the death. Well, hacking no longer works that way. The bad actors have learned to be cunning and patient. They discovered how to infiltrate networks through weaknesses in technology infrastructure. The Log4j flaw is a remote code execution (RCE) vulnerability that enables hackers to execute arbitrary code and take full control of vulnerable devices. If even this much tech-speak gives you a headache, then I’ve made my point about IT being a specialty.
As business owners, we all must learn how to find the right accountant, attorney, insurance agent, marketing/advertising resources, etc. Rather than going to school to learn all those disciplines, we find those who love their respective professions, and we pay them to consult us. It has just been since I started Aptica two decades ago that Technology has joined the ranks of those long-time specialty vocations. For perspective, it has only been two generations ago that the decision was whether to pay for electricity or continue to use gas lighting. We all worry about costs. So—research the costs of professional IT management. Talk to your peers. Ask around in your community. Have conversations with IT consultants. The cyber crime threats are not going away. Add a management and support company to your list of must-have professionals. Start by calling us at Aptica. We offer a free assessment of what you have and how it’s working for you. Best of all, we speak plain English and we answer all questions to your satisfaction. Call us. Start here. 260.243.5100.
Jason Newburg, 260.243.5100, ext 2101, is the founder and owner of Aptica LLC. This IT management and support company has been serving small to medium-sized businesses for 20 years in the region that includes Angola, South Bend, and Fort Wayne, IN, Battle Creek, MI, and Toledo OH.