12 Steps to Mitigate Cyber Threats

By Phil Hamrick

Every organization is susceptible to an organized attack, therefore every organization has to protect all data and prepare for the worst. Hacks are very sophisticated, and cyber thieves are quick to pounce on company targets that don’t regularly patch the software across their whole enterprise. We recently saw this with the Equifax breach. Companies need to put an Incident Response (IR) plan in place (Equifax did not have an IR plan in place). So, what steps should be taken to help avoid such cyber threats? Below is a 12-step plan:

1) Secure buy-in from Senior leadership. This is a must! Balance security budget vs. amount of risk your company executives are willing to assume.
2) Continuous employee education, plus necessity to strengthen policy on PW protection.
3) Monitor network traffic for suspicious activity – can you “see” in & outbound encrypted messages?
4) Upgrade and patch software immediately and promptly. This must be done frequently as patches are released by the software vendor.
5) Implement robust Endpoint security to protect your business from zero-day malware & user mistakes.
6) Upgrade Authentication inside and out – including mobility & IoT policies.
7) Harden external facing web applications.
8) Know where sensitive data resides, then develop data protection strategy to include encryption monitoring.
9) Develop and implement real-time monitoring strategy and analysis of log files and wire data.
10) Implement rigorous application development testing and code reviews.
11) Perform annual penetration assessments and vulnerability assessments.
12) Prepare for the worst case scenario. Develop emergency incident response (IR) plans.

There are several ways Champion can assist our clients in developing IR plans. We also deliver a pre-packed set of Incident Response runbooks that assist with putting policies in place for all types of incidents.

Our SecurityOps team can assist with creating a multi-tiered security strategy. A great way to start is to take our Security survey (https://securityrisksurvey.com/), which is designed to show companies if they have the necessary “tiers” of security and redundancy.

For more information about our security services, visit: https://www.championsg.com/services/security or call 800-771-7000.


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Erick Bacallao joined Champion Solutions Group in 2015 after a career of Software Development in Cuba at the National Cancer Care Institute of Cuba, followed by moving to the States with allAware.


Champion acquired allAware and its properties and Erick has utilized his extensive background and expertise in IT and Software Development to rise to VP of Product Development in less than 5 years. During this time, Erick has been involved with key projects that led to the launch of numerous products including CSP Boss, Inscape platform and 365 Productivity Insights.


Erick has a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from the University of Havana. He won Gold Medals for Programming from the Ministry of Education in Cuba, and he is certainly still a Gold Medalist for Champion!


As President and CEO, Chris is responsible for the development of key strategic alliances and solution portfolio. He leads Champion’s go-to market and execution strategies for integrated offerings in the cloud, in security, and in digital infrastructure, always focusing on improving the customer experience and driving transformative business outcomes.


He also aligns key partner initiatives with company strategy and oversees corporate marketing and messaging to gain mindshare with customers and partners. It’s his vision and innovativeness that have catapulted Champion up the ranks to become a $100M+ organization—and one of the most respected solution providers in the industry.


Over the past two decades, Chris has also focused on mergers and acquisitions, as well as innovative product development. He is the original founder and an active member on the Board of Managed Maintenance, Inc., a SAAS provider and consulting firm that utilizes their award-winning One-View Portal to help the IT Channel and its customers manage their IT Maintenance.


Chris is also the original founder and chief strategist behind one of the original storage cloud providers, Storage Access / BluePoint. During the course of a few short years, he had raised $20M and took that company public on the Toronto Stock Exchange. It has since been acquired by Pomeroy.


In 2012, Chris led the acquisition of MessageOps and continued the product development and worldwide launch of its premier SAAS, 365 Command. Built on Microsoft Azure, 365 Command is currently managing over 1 million seats of Microsoft’s Office 365. After achieving this phenomenal milestone, 365 Command and other MessageOps O365 utilities were sold to Kaseya.


Over the past 35 years, Chris as worked tirelessly to not only advance his own career, but those of his employees. In addition to leading a $100M organization, Chris can also be found sitting with sales teams, cold calling and coaching, and validating why Champion has been listed on Best Places to Work by both South Florida Business Journal and Computerworld.

Ultimately, the success garnered by Champion Solutions Group, its associated companies, and their employees is due in large part to the leadership of its President and CEO. Perhaps the most fitting award Chris has earned is South Florida Business Journal’s 2013 Ultimate CEO Award.