Renewed Trust in Vetted IT Support at Nasdaq
Matrixforce CEO Featured Speaker at Nasdaq
Ten years ago, President Barack Obama spoke at Nasdaq. He spoke about Governor Franklin Delano Roosevelt starting his presidential campaign 75 years earlier. The message was “re-appraisal of values” because in 2007 faith in the American economy was once again shaken. In between then and now, countless CEOs of major companies and prominent politicians have spoken at Nasdaq to either ring the opening bell or impart business wisdom to the financial industry.
I’m just a small-town guy from Oklahoma who has the privilege of being a featured speaker at Nasdaq on December 3-4, 2017. Although we protect over $6B in assets, Matrixforce is not a large company and we’re not going public. While the stock market is at all-time highs under President Trump, the biggest challenge you face today is cybersecurity and privacy.
New Terms for an Old Social Contract
To live free and prosper as a nation, a renewed spirit of personal obligation and cooperation is required of citizens, business, and government. Regardless of your political view, millions of lives are being ruined and thousands of businesses are being robbed by cybercrime yearly, while our government is routinely attacked by cyberwarfare.
My passion is keeping people and businesses safe from cybercrime. What keeps me up at night is that both groups are generally unaware or unconcerned about the dangers they face. In 2016, I co-wrote the #1 best-selling cybersecurity book Easy Prey and this year did a nationwide media tour on ABC, CBS, NBS, and Fox News educating the public about the perils of ransomware. At Nasdaq, I’ll give a Gladwellian vetted IT support presentation to hundreds of business leaders from around the world.
Vetted IT Support Origins
In the fall of 1993, an innocuous little incident happened. Back then we had a niche in providing print and scan bar code solutions – along with the first versions of PC networks. We were making a killing in the market crisscrossing the nation because of the demand for this specialized knowledge.
Like any other day, we get an inquiry from a manufacturer that happened to be in Arkansas and we show up in our Wall Street suits with power ties and matching suspenders of the era. After the niceties, the customer says he wants a Microsoft network and he seems to like our pitch. Then he says, “Are you boys Microsoft Certified Professionals?”
My project manager and I looked at each other and shrugged it off laughing saying we were degreed professionals with years of experience and plenty of customer references across the U.S. He understood that most IT people were self-taught and appreciated that we had degrees, but recounted a story he was told by another vendor that if you weren’t certified by Microsoft then you weren’t qualified and were putting businesses at risk.
It was the first deal we had lost in 3 years! So, early in 1994 we became one of the first Microsoft Solution Providers and certified our entire staff. That lesson was one of 4 other incidents throughout the following decade that taught me the importance of vetting to prove capabilities and protect clients. Unfortunately, despite imminent cyber threats of today, the overwhelming majority of IT service providers do not meet the first and most important part of vetting – the least of which is manufacturer certification.
Equifax Tipping Point
The Equifax data breach which included stolen social security numbers of 143 million people finally caused an awaking to a much bigger problem in the United States. It was easy to be numb to the latest big company data breach because the news likes big stories versus the mundane 4,000 ransomware attacks per day on individuals and small business.
In a hearing before congress, Republicans and Democrats both railed against the fired Equifax CEO and vowed for stiffer penalties for such negligence. However, no mention was made of the wraith that would bring on small and medium businesses or a pledge to declare war on cybercrime. The press was quick to report that the breach could have been prevented by applying a two-month-old security patch to the vulnerable Equifax web server.
Many analysts in the financial and security industries believe we’ll deal with two generations or more than 100 years of rampant identity theft and business cyber fraud from the Equifax breach, but the real cause was never publicized. Since credit bureaus are unregulated like most businesses, there has never been and still remains no IT support vetting of the 5 major criteria to protect your information by Equifax or their third-party IT support vendors. While Equifax purportedly has lost no major customers or earnings, the average small and midsized business won’t be so lucky.
Avoiding Willful Neglect
If the last few years have taught us nothing else, we can all suffer from the apathy of a few and can no longer turn a blind eye to cybercrime. While government searches for an answer to this epidemic and increases the penalties for data breach, every business owner must take responsibility for cybersecurity knowing for certain they will be attacked.
LifeLock CEO Todd Davis proudly displayed his social security number as clever marketing and had his identity stolen over 25 times with no recourse for his reckless behavior. Every day, American business owners give full access to their employee and customer information over to unvetted IT support.
Willful neglect is defined as “conscious, intentional failure or reckless indifference”. Cyber insurance won’t pay for irresponsible management and the authorities will simply levy maximum penalties with required public disclosure of potentially irreparable harm to your reputation and livelihood. With my latest book Revealing Secrets to Streamlining Technology displayed on the Times Square jumbotron and the live recorded broadcast from Nasdaq, I want to arm CEOs nationwide with this critical business strategy to defend themselves from cybercrime.