Akron/Canton (3279)

You can’t pick up a newspaper, business publication or magazine without reading about this month’s mega-data breach. “Stolen: 3.5 million credit card numbers, complete with contact information” and so on all seem like headlines detailing sizable losses coming from large corporations specifically being targeted for their treasures. 

Unfortunately, each of these breaches were not the result of some large company’s loss. Instead, they occurred at companies with annual revenues under $50 million.

Let’s face it. Large corporations have data that is of interest to attackers, but they also focus on keeping that data secure.

While large breaches tend to dominate the headlines and are often accompanied with names of companies you and I recognize, the majority of data breaches occur at a level much lower. And these are only the breaches that are being reported. Baseline, in its article, “Data Breaches May Be Worse Than Reported,” found that 57 percent of survey respondents reported that they had experienced a breach but had not disclosed it.

The reality is that many smaller businesses are actually at a much higher risk for experiencing a data breach than companies at the highest levels. For the small and midsize business, we find two significant factors that contribute to the significance of breaches:

  • Belief that they have nothing of interest to a hacker, and
  • The feeling that their systems are secure.

 We’re not a target

Time and time again we hear from business owners that they’re not concerned about the security of their information technology because they “don’t have anything of interest” to an attacker, falsely believing that this removes them as a target.

While that may have been the case 10 or 15 years ago, organizations today are a target simply because they have an Internet presence. On the low end attacks, an organization may be targeted simply for the use of its resources: disk space to allow the hacker to store his or her pirated software, music and video collection; or maybe the attacker is interested in the organization’s Internet connection to help disguise his or her identity as he or she launches an attack against another prized target. 

Our systems are secure

Information security is truly one of those areas that, “You don’t know what you don’t know.” It is complex and a specialty in-and-of-itself.

The problem in most organizations is that the IT department is there to keep the systems running and to make them as easy to use for end-users as possible. This goal is mutually exclusive of security — where the goal is to limit access and make it as hard as possible for an attacker.

A secure approach has collateral effects on ease-of-use, which many organizations are unwilling to compromise, thereby making their systems more vulnerable. 

A change in attitude

In order to effectively address an organization’s IT security, business owners must understand that their organization is under constant siege. Regardless of size, attackers are interested in your organization’s resources.

If our homes and neighborhoods were under the same kind of attacks, there would be criminals rattling our windows and trying our doors to see if they could get in — every minute of every day.

We of course would not stand for that, but in the digital neighborhood where this activity is mostly invisible, we ignore it or turn our heads believing it isn’t occurring.  Understanding the true threat is the first step in improving your organization’s security.

 

Damon S. Hacker, MBA, CCE, CISA, is co-founder, president and CEO of Vestige Digital Investigations, a Digital Forensics and IT Security firm with offices in Cleveland, Columbus and Pittsburgh. He can be reached at (330) 721-1205 or dhacker@vestigeltd.com. For more information, visit www.vestigeltd.com.

 

The Kent Clapp CEO Leadership Award

 

Kevin J. Goodman
Managing director and partner
BlueBridge Networks LLS
www.bluebridgenetworks.com

From the very marrow

Kevin Goodman survived lymphoma and now gives back to others

This year, Kevin J. Goodman reached his personal goal of raising more than $100,000 for charitable causes — and completed the Boston Marathon. His concern and care for others was further demonstrated at the marathon this year when he assisted victims of the terrorist bombing. Fortunate to have finished the race an hour before the bombings, Goodman jumped into efforts to help victims.

It was a little over 10 years ago when he received a shocking diagnosis: He had stage 4 lymphoma. But receiving the devastating news that he had a potentially fatal illness didn’t throw him into hopelessness. He battled through the chemotherapy and treatment and came out a survivor. The victory also taught him many important lessons.

Goodman, managing director and partner of BlueBridge Networks LLC, made a commitment to donate his time and talent to organizations such as the American Red Cross and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

Goodman joined the LLS Board of Trustees in 2009. His involvement has grown constantly and he now serves as vice president on the executive committee.

On the fundraising side, he has helped lead outstanding efforts to generate funds through the LLS Team in Training. His team has surpassed the $1 million mark. As a lymphoma survivor, Goodman is unable to donate blood, but has arranged for BlueBridge Networks to participate in blood drives at Playhouse Square for the past several years.

 

 

Cloud computing for business has become commonplace. The reason? Companies want technological conveniences and marketplace advantages. However, phone services are often left behind because of traditional phone service capabilities.

This is starting to change. Now, instead of being subject to the capabilities of a phone system, businesses are dictating how they want to communicate with their customers.

In the future, Alex Desberg, sales and marketing director at Ohio.net, says he envisions a mass migration away from stationary services tied to brick and mortar to Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) capabilities that incorporate the desk phone, the cell phone and Web-based services.

“VoIP can play a huge role by incorporating offices with telecommuters and a mobile workforce,” he says.

Smart Business spoke with Desberg about the evolution of VoIP, who is driving the changes and what he expects in the future.

How is the VoIP world evolving to serve its customers?

It’s amazing how quickly the VoIP industry has evolved in a relatively short time. In contrast, traditional phone services are nearly exact replicas of what they were decades ago. While traditional telecom offers different services and features on various phone systems, the fundamental telephone service hasn’t changed.

In the VoIP world, the primary change we’ve seen has been moving from basic emulation and hosted services to highly expandable VoIP solutions that incorporate many new features. Businesses have developed a high comfort level with VoIP, so there has been a shift to businesses wanting to manage their own VoIP solutions; they just don’t want the responsibility of hosting the phone system. This do-it-yourself approach has gained traction as a tactic to save money by limiting outsourcing. Since VoIP systems are cloud based, a company’s communications infrastructure, which is hosted remotely, is still safe and secure.

Are there any other areas of evolutionary change?

Another example of evolutionary change is that VoIP providers are now incorporating functionality into cloud platforms that were traditionally only available on a network.

For instance, call recording on a hosted system used to work by having a server with devices that were able to record phone calls. With the second generation of cloud-based private branch exchange, this can be brought into the cloud environment and is immediately available for anyone on the phone network in real time.

Who is driving the changes?

Most VoIP systems are driven by the software and platform that they were built with. That has been the limiting factor of early versions of VoIP. Now, customers are dictating how they want the system to work and how quickly the evolution curve is. In essence, the customer’s input is impacting the direction of VoIP.

How is VoIP able to respond to changes in the telecom market so quickly?

The VoIP life cycle moves at an accelerated pace when compared to traditional telephony. Perhaps the best way to measure VoIP time is to compare it to Internet time, which moves at a much quicker rate than anything we’ve seen historically.

Over the next several years, as software changes and new technologies develop, consumers are going to witness further evolutions in the VoIP field.

How do you envision the future of VoIP?

We are going to continue to see the shift to a cloud-based model. With hosted VoIP, there are still phone devices on the office desk. However, businesses want their phone services to integrate with their mobile devices. A common request from customers is to have their business phone number integrate to their cell phone so they can respond to the needs of their customers more timely.

Businesses are looking for different characteristics associated with their phone system that will help set themselves apart from their competitors.

Alex Desberg is sales and marketing director at Ohio.net. Reach him at adesberg@ohio.net.

Insights Telecommunications is brought to you by Ohio.net

Here comes Santa Claus, right down Santa Claus Lane. He’s got a bag that’s filled with toys, but does he have coverage for those he employs?

The North Pole is very dynamic — Santa Claus has a personal home, reindeer, a toy factory and a sleigh for business use. Like many business owners, he needs to look at a variety of insurance coverages for all aspects of his life.

Because of the animal exposure from the reindeer, the Clauses need to put their residence on a farm policy, or a home policy with an endorsement that extends to the barn and animals.

A business policy would insure the toy factory, while the sleigh would be added to the business auto policy. Any additional drivers also need to be taken into account. If Mrs. Claus or any elves want to drive the sleigh, they would need their driving records checked first, and, if acceptable, added to the policy.

Santa’s agent may strongly recommend umbrella insurance, which are additional liability limits that extend over the home or business limits. In the unlikely event that Santa is sued, the lawsuit could extend from Santa to jeopardize the toy factory and any related businesses. An umbrella provides an extra layer of liability protection in the event of a loss or lawsuit.

Smart Business spoke with Craig Hassinger, president of SeibertKeck, about how Santa Claus can stay safe this holiday season with the proper insurance coverage.

How should the toy factory be covered?

Santa’s toy factory is a unique risk. Because 100 percent of its inventory is scheduled for delivery on one night, he needs peak season insurance. Peak season insurance automatically provides you with a specified percentage increase in insurance coverage during peak inventory periods when you insure your inventory for its average monthly value. We all know that although the elves have 12 months to make the toys, they really pick up the pace in November and December, significantly increasing the number of toys stored at the factory. Having peak season insurance allows Santa to increase the coverage for the toys for a couple of months while inventory is at its highest.

Santa also should talk to his agent to make sure his business policy has equipment breakdown coverage, in case any of the toy-making machines were to break, and business interruption coverage, which would help Santa if there was a covered loss and he was unable to work in the factory.

What are some additional coverages Santa may need?

An important coverage for Santa as he delivers all the gifts would be cargo coverage. Cargo coverage provides insurance for the goods, in this case gifts as they are in transit on the sleigh, until delivery. For Santa this could include any gifts that fall from the sleigh, are delivered to the wrong child or damaged en route.

Since Santa and his elves make all the toys at the North Pole, another coverage Santa should get is products liability. Products liability coverage is necessary because the manufacturer or maker of the products is held responsible for the injuries those products cause. If a toy were faulty or incorrectly made by an elf, Santa’s factory would be liable if any injury occurred to a child.

Any other tips for Santa — or other insurees — as the year winds down?

Take the time to:

  • Put multiple insurance policies with the same carrier. This can be beneficial in the event of a claim and save on premiums.

  • Review your personal and business insurance with your agent annually.

  • Contact your agent two to three months before your busy season. They will review your risk, make sure coverage is in place and allow you to focus on your business when the rush hits.


It’s critical to have a trusted insurance agent who can advise you how to best bundle your insurance for convenience and premium savings, without sacrificing necessary coverage, to have a happy holiday season and successful year following.

Craig Hassinger is president of SeibertKeck. Reach him at (330) 867-3140 or chassinger@seibertkeck.com.

Insights Business Insurance is brought to you by SeibertKeck

Business owners today may understand that technology can be customized to streamline their internal processes. But exactly how that customization is realized may be unclear.

Software, platforms and applications evolve quickly, which can make finding the right technology intimidating. However, by partnering with the right solution provider, you can improve your current processes with technology that’s inherently scalable.

“Business owners are experts in their industry; they shouldn’t have to be experts on the technology solutions they bring into their company,” says Heather Stump, a business analyst and AIIM ECM Practitioner at Blue Technologies.

Smart Business spoke with Stump about available software, platforms and apps, and how to integrate them in your company.

In your experience, which software and platforms are the most useful?

The most prevalent office applications are the Microsoft Office programs, Word, Excel and Outlook. Other platforms integrate directly with these familiar interfaces to enhance them without replacing what employees currently use, or changing their day-to-day activities.

Imaging applications can be installed on your desktop or embedded in your multifunction printer, which can then:

  • Convert documents, such as PDFs and images, to a Word or Excel file on the fly.

  • Route documents throughout the enterprise to a shared folder, document management system or email account.

  • Name documents at the time of the scan to save time on the back end.


Many document management systems can integrate directly with Outlook or hardware devices. Employees can store and retrieve documents without leaving the familiar email interface, and multifunction devices can allow employees to search, retrieve and print documents directly from a device.

Organizations typically have an accounting and/or a customer relationship management system, such as Salesforce or SharePoint. These systems are vital to any business, but they do require supporting materials to be useful. Technology solutions integrate with these programs to provide a comprehensive view of all necessary data and documentation, such as emails and customer correspondence, eliminating the need to search through multiple systems and file cabinets, reducing the burden on employees.

What are some must-have apps?

Many employees already have a smartphone or tablet, so more businesses are implementing a bring-your-own-device strategy. Most mobile integrations are not device specific and fall into the document or print management categories.

The most well-known document management mobile apps such as Google Docs, Dropbox or SkyDrive allow users to store and retrieve documents. Other apps allow you to take photos or scan from your mobile device, and then upload to the cloud or existing document management repositories. Advanced solutions allow employees to interact with workflow off-site, which facilitates continuity and productivity.

Hardware manufacturers now offer print management apps, so you can print from anywhere, whether on- or off-site. The files are held in a print cloud. The user can then authenticate themselves at any networked device, see their print queue and release the jobs when they’re ready. This helps reduce costs and improve information security — people aren’t as likely to leave confidential documents sitting around.

How can businesses find a provider to maintain, assess and upgrade technology?

Do your research and trust your instincts. Meet with providers and look at a variety of software packages to get an idea of the distinctions. One tip, on the manufacturer’s side, is to see who is spending money on research and development; only innovators survive in the tech industry.

Your solution provider should be assessing the technology quarterly or semi-annually to help you learn new features and functionalities. In addition, manufacturers usually release at least one upgrade and a few minor software fixes every year. Make sure you understand what your provider includes in the yearly maintenance of software or platforms. With due diligence and the right provider to support your software and provide training, you’ll better understand the value of your purchase.

Heather Stump is a business analyst and AIIM ECM Practitioner at Blue Technologies. Reach her at (216) 271-4800 or hstump@btohio.com.

Insights Technology is brought to you by Blue Technologies

PILLAR AWARD FOR COMMUNITY SERVICE 

Ralph Della Ratta
Managing partner
Western Reserve Partners
www.wesrespartners.com

Since its founding in 2004, Western Reserve Partners has strongly believed in and practiced a firm-wide commitment to community service and support. Western Reserve is proud of its culture of caring and believes that the relatively small size of the firm is not commensurate with the far-reaching impact of its contributions to the Northeast Ohio community.

At an employee level, Western Reserve prides itself on the fact that all of its 15 senior professionals and many of its junior staff are actively involved at the board level of at least one nonprofit organization, including managing partner, Ralph Della Ratta. Furthermore, the majority of these professionals have assumed leadership positions on these boards, and as such, average as many as eight hours per week on their nonprofit endeavors.

Employees are quick to support each other’s charitable endeavors, staffing and attending innumerable telethons, 5K runs, golf outings and other fundraising events each year. Collectively, these efforts impact nearly 30 organizations across a variety of focus areas.

As a firm, Western Reserve is generous in its financial support of those organizations in which its professionals hold leadership or board positions, as well as many others. The firm is particularly proud of its participation in the United Way’s Pacesetter/Stellar Campaign program.

In this program, the firm commits to an annual 5 percent increase over its previous year’s gift, and the firm has had 100 percent participation each year. Since 2005, Western Reserve’s contributions to United Way and other charitable organizations have totaled more than $500,000. ●

PILLAR AWARD FOR COMMUNITY SERVICE

Mark Light
President and CEO
Sterling Jewelers Inc.
www.sterlingjewelers.com

Akron, Ohio-based Sterling Jewelers is the largest U.S. specialty retail jeweler with more than 1,300 stores in 50 states. The company has stores under the names Kay Jewelers, J.B. Robinson Jewelers and Jared The Galleria of Jewelry. With employees all over the country, Sterling Jewelers is proud of its commitment to support the communities where its employees live and work.

Here in Northeast Ohio, Sterling has 2,500 team members working at its corporate headquarters, and under the leadership of President and CEO Mark Light, the company focuses on giving back to three specific areas: children, arts and culture, and civic programs and community development.

In October 2012, Sterling Jewelers launched an internal online donation tool where team members can click on a link via the company’s intranet, select any fundraiser they want to support, enter a donation amount and hit submit. The donation is automatically deducted from the employee’s paycheck and offers an easy and convenient way to give back.

Participation has increased by more than 50 percent since the launch of the online donation tool. In total, the business support services team at Sterling dedicates more than 1,425 hours annually to develop and implement team member giving programs.

Over the years Sterling Jewelers has become one of the largest corporate sponsors of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, raising more than $43 million to date. The company sells plush animals each year in support of St. Jude. As further incentive, Sterling employees can earn a trip to St. Jude to present the staff with a check and get a tour of the hospital. ●

PILLAR AWARD FOR COMMUNITY SERVICE 

SueAnn Naso
President
Staffing Solutions Enterprises
www.staffsol.com

Charity is a yearlong commitment for Staffing Solutions Enterprises and its employees, and is embedded into the company’s corporate culture. With the support and input from its team, Staffing Solutions has developed and implemented a 12-month charity campaign called the SSE Monthly Give Back program. The program allows Staffing Solutions to help various programs financially during times they need it most — throughout the entire year.

Although Staffing Solutions has hundreds of employees working on assignment, its corporate office is composed of a team of 20 employees, 100 percent of which participate in the SSE Charity programs, including company president, SueAnn Naso.

Staffing Solutions strongly believes that every dollar helps, and sometimes the most important thing to do is help create awareness for charities in need. Through its charity programs Staffing Solutions has been able to shed light on these organizations’ causes and missions through its e-newsletter and social media platforms.

Each month the company highlights its SSE Monthly Give Back Charity in its e-newsletter, providing a brief description of the organization to encourage clients to donate as well.

Additionally, these platforms showcase the staff’s participation in charity events and highlight fun activities for others to get involved in.

In 2013, several of the charities selected were chosen to have an economic impact and benefit individuals and families right here in Northeastern Ohio. The SSE Monthly Give Back program benefitted organizations such as the Special Olympics, the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation Northeast Ohio Chapter and Cleveland Foodbank. ●

PILLAR SPECIAL AWARD – SHARE AWARD

Bill Priemer
CEO
Lisa Jackman
Community engagement manager
Hyland Software
www.hyland.com

Hyland Software provides the means for its employees to make a difference in the community, and more than 1,500 of those employees take full advantage of the opportunity.

Under the leadership of CEO Bill Priemer and Lisa Jackman, the company’s community engagement manager, Hyland supports nonprofit programs that actively engage employees in their individual charitable interests, facilitate company-wide volunteer projects and charitable initiatives, and promote and develop youth education in technology.

Here are a few examples:

  • The TECHie Club was launched during the 2012-2013 school year for Cleveland school children in grades three through five. As part of the program, a group of nine dedicated, tech-savvy Hyland employees introduce students to computer programming, Web development, robotics and social networks.
  • Hyland’s Summer of Service project in Ohio City brought out volunteers equipped with rakes, paintbrushes, ladders and gardening gloves to help beautify the historic Cleveland neighborhood.
  • Employees serve meals each month at the West Side Catholic Center, annually host onsite blood drives and contribute to Shoes and Clothes for Kids. In 2012, employees ensured that 23 families (102 individuals) had the right clothes to make it through another Cleveland winter, and donated more than 2,000 pairs of shoes.

Engagement is the key to Hyland’s ability to do great things in the community. Employees get to work on the causes that mean the most to them and therefore give all the time and talent they can to make it a success. ●