BioForward Speaker Series Recap: Cyber Security & It’s Impact on Your Biohealth Company

By Kate Rodgers | March 21, 2017

Attendees braved the Wisconsin winter to join BioFoward and Reinhart Law for a speaker series last Thursday. The evening speaker series featured an expert panel on all things cybersecurity:

  • Heather Fields, JD, CHC, CCEP, Shareholder, Health Care Practice, Reinhart Law
  • David Shade, Partner in Advisory Services, Ernst & Young
  • Justin Webb, Associate, Litigation Practice, Reinhart Law

Lisa Johnson welcomed guests with updates on BioForward’s recently launched Strength of Wisconsin web page and Mike Harrison gave an update on BioForward’s growing involvement in the Milwaukee area, including a digital health happy hour, area partnerships, and BioForward’s work on the upcoming SBIR conference in November.

Moderator Heather Fields started the panel by having attendees share their industry and interest in the panel, opening a unique opportunity to guide the panel discussion and topics. Attendees had the chance to have questions answered specific to their company size, from startup to large corporation, and industry, ranging from research to medical instruments.

Several topics were touched on, with four key themes throughout the panel discussion:

The Cyber Threat Landscape

When discussing the current landscape of cybersecurity amongst all business types, it became apparent that all organizations should be mindful of the growing cybersecurity threat, even if it may not be obvious at first how it applies to your organization. David Shade reiterated that a cyberattack is not a matter of ‘if’ but ‘when’, with your employees often being the weakest link in your security chain.

Managing Cyber Risk

Keeping in mind that cyberattacks are bound to happen, it’s key to implement barriers making it harder for hackers to get in, learning how to detect an attack, and having a plan to recover after the attack. One recommendation was being more disciplined in data storage, only keeping data you need on hand and storing the rest in a secure location or breaking up data and storing in several secured locations. Another key risk management technique included training your employees on cybersecurity and reiterating the importance of being cyber-aware, starting with the CEO.

Liability for Your Company

Panelists warned attendees to be conscious of their business ecosystem, because your organization may be a stepping stone to a larger target, or on the other side, hackers may be getting into your system via a smaller partner organization. In this case, it’s important for companies to be aware of contracts in place and where the liability lies if such an attack were to happen.

What Does This Mean for Your Company?

The panel left attendees with three take-away messages to bring back to their respective organizations:

  • It’s crucial to assess where your data is, how it’s controlled, and what your vulnerability is as an organization, in order to rate your risk and decide how to allocate your resources for cyberattack prevention and recovery.
  • Cybersecurity is an enterprise endeavor and requires involvement from the executive level. Employees are often a weak link in cybersecurity, so training can go a long way for your company.
  • Whether you’re a startup or large organization, do not put off considering cybersecurity. It’s much harder to identify and deal with security issues later that dealing with them at the beginning.

Attendees had the opportunity to continue the discussion with panelists at the post-event networking session.

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