Updated February 28 at 8:42pm

Rhode Island CEOs share insights on cybersecurity

By Patricia Daddona
PBN Staff Writer

For Jeffrey R. Cares, chairman and founder of Newport-based Alidade Inc., a small research and analysis firm working on the future of the military, his laptop is command central. More

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INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY

Rhode Island CEOs share insights on cybersecurity

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For Jeffrey R. Cares, chairman and founder of Newport-based Alidade Inc., a small research and analysis firm working on the future of the military, his laptop is command central.

The device constitutes a much smaller system and network than many companies are required to protect, but that doesn’t mean it’s not vulnerable to hackers.

“All I have to protect is what’s on my laptop, that’s the brains and the business,” Cares said.

While much of the material Cares handles is already online and not classified or “super-proprietary,” a trip to Taiwan recently forced him to buy a new laptop just for that one excursion. Preventing malicious interference from Web robots, or “bots,” was part of the reason, he said.

“We knew going to Taiwan to expect that [hackers] are going to get on your system,” he said. “I didn’t want anything to ruin the laptop or [find] a bot on it.”

Securing workplace networks from cyberthreats sometimes calls for similar extreme measures, top company executives say, but more often, keen oversight by a combination of security measures and vigilant employees trained beyond a company’s Information Technology department keeps systems secure.

Four of the estimated 16 CEOs participating on behalf of 32 companies in an Oct. 9 table-top exercise as part of the new Rhode Island Corporate Cybersecurity Initiative told Providence Business News recently that solutions they’ve come up with to combat cyberthreats have proved effective.

Likewise, sharing ideas, experiences and resources at the Pell Center for International Relations and Public Policy that day led to new insights, too.

Martin J. King, founder and CEO of Gurnet Consulting, of East Providence, maintains the integrity of intellectual property routinely, as a critical part of the business. But King learned something new from fellow CEOs: Examples of malware being developed for mobile devices are rapidly increasing, and the new entry point is on employees’ handheld devices.

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