“River Run is an IT firm in Wisconsin, we focus on working with small- to mid-sized businesses. My role in the organization is to help. As CEO, I get to be the chief cook and the dishwasher. I get help with the vision and the direction of the company – and that’s one of the biggest topics that we talk about on a regular basis. I’ve got a team of wonderful and smart people that do the hard work to make things happen and keep our clients secure.”
Why is security so important?
The answer really comes down just being able to protect people. As we look at the things we do – we’re protecting them physically and also mentally because any security incident is so mentally draining, and in a lot of cases, it can be very traumatic for people. A lot of what we’re protecting is people’s data and making sure their financial well being is intact. The ripple effect of any type of data or security breach can be devastating for the people involved – and not just the company. It can hurt the company’s clients, their clients and clients after that. The other point to this is because so many people are working from home because of this pandemic. This is a new territory. The use of Zoom, the use of Teams, the use of remote access to things has increased drastically and because of that, there’s so much more vulnerability. And so again, we really have to make sure that we’re staying on top of security.
How do you stay on top of the latest security threats?
It’s quite time-consuming and quite exciting! What we do is w subscribe to any of the main providers of IT in the marketplace and constantly scan their information – making sure that we’re receiving any types of alerts about IT and security. Because of this, we can react very quickly when new things come up. The other thing is that we have engineers whose job is to stay on top of that stuff. We also go to leadership groups in the IT world to make sure we stay on top of the latest information from all different sources.
How do you handle awareness training for your clients and for your team?
There are automated type things like a phishing awareness testing tool and those will send out tests to see how well people do and then include some videos to help them learn how to be more secure. And then there are the face-to-face interactions and training. We do that for a couple of reasons. First, we like being able to sit down with people and talk to them. People aren’t as afraid to ask questions in that situation. The objective is just to create some more awareness because awareness is critical.
Being a business owner and dealing with COVID, how do you know how to make the right decisions?
I’m fortunate in that I have a wonderful network of professionals. I’ve got mentors that aren’t afraid to hold up a few mirrors to me and make sure that I’m seeing things as clearly as I should. And so I learned a lot by talking with experts and spending time with the experts in different areas. Another thing is just absorbing and asking questions and then making the connections that I need to make. The other thing that’s wonderful are the people that work with me at River Run. They’re top-notch and they stay focused and they’re able to accomplish a lot of things and break everything down into very manageable solutions that are easy to understand. I also spend a bit of time on the wonderful web here and just hitting different groups to find more information about specific topics, especially how things are changing with COVID. What are we doing to keep our people safe, keep our clients safe and continue to be able to do business? So luckily as I said, I’ve got some great mentors and great people in my network circle and it’s just through a lot of conversations and a bit of research that really does help move things forward there.