Typically, business owners protect their valuable equipment and sensitive information in locked filing cabinets and secure buildings. However, almost daily these same people can be susceptible to pilfering with the simple click of a button.
PG Technology, a Palestine-based company, focuses on informing and providing the tools necessary to keep small to medium-sized businesses safe from the threats of the online world. Owner Tommy Waldrop will give a seminar on Feb. 18, covering topics such as cyber security and business policies.
Waldrop said he began his company in the Houston area, where he worked for 10 years before moving to Palestine. Though the company began as a basic Internet service provider, it eventually evolved into business-to-business-type operations where Waldrop noticed a trend.
“We saw that there were kind of a different set of needs that the business community was actually needing and one of those areas was security,” Waldrop said. “You can literally go down to Office Depot or Walmart, wherever, and buy a wireless access point, bring it back to the office, plug it in and have it operational within just a few minutes. Some businesses have actually found that it was something that became very problematic.”
He gave the example of one of the problems small businesses face with technology. A group of hackers set up shop down the road from a bank, where they used a small antenna to connect with the bank's Internet connection.
“If you dissect that, what just happened was that the bad guys, hackers, just attached themselves to a bank to get Internet access,” Waldrop said. “You have to ask the question, 'Why do hackers hack?' There are no hard feelings, and it's not personal. If you look at it like there's this pool of resources and you have easy access to it, then at that point it's easy to leverage it as a resource where they can put bad things on the network. They'll open a connection and serve content to what they call the dark web or to the Internet and allow people to come in and go out, and you'll never even know they were there, except that your network might be slow.”
What PG Technology does, Waldrop said, is set up an environment for small to medium-sized businesses to protect and secure any information, not only against hackers or intruders, but also against accidents.
“Let's say the customer has had a bad weekend, and they walk into work and all the computers are gone,” Waldrop said. “How long can they still exist as a company when all of their computers are gone? All of their data is gone. All of their customer records are gone.”
It's PG Technology's job to set up a way to retain the information on computers, so no matter the issue, the company is able to continue with its services.
“What we try to do is go through a planning process to make sure their data is protected,” Waldrop said. “That it's saved not only locally, but if it gets stolen when it was there locally, that it's still out in the cloud and secure and encrypted.”
According to Waldrop, outside invaders are not the only problem that businesses face. Businesses fight possible problems with employees, many of which could be solved with business-computer policies.
“Most people never even think about Internet usage policies,” Waldrop said. “If you tell your people they can only use the Internet for things that are good and you just use the word good, then there's not really been a definition about what would be good.”
Waldrop gave examples of previous companies he has worked with that encountered issues due to the misuse of a computer by an employee.
“It was real simple,” Waldrop said. “Somebody didn't want to get in trouble, and they knew they couldn't do certain things on their computer, so they went to another computer in another department, and they got onto that computer and got onto a site where they could send a Christmas card. It's just that innocuous. It was a bad site, a hacker-type site, and they grabbed information and put a program on that computer. That computer was the computer used to make banking transactions.”
After a short holiday, the employees returned to suspicious bank accounts, and Waldrop said they had roughly $200,000 missing all from the misuse of a computer at work. Waldrop said there were several problems with this issue, including a violation of computer and Internet policies.
“The person should have never been able to log onto the other person's computer, not to mention be able to actually surf the Internet on a very high-profile computer that would give a hacker access to all of the banking accounts. It was done by guys in Russia.”
Waldrop said there are simple things that a company can do to protect itself, including making complex passwords, changing the passwords regularly, not opening e-mails from strangers, not installing or connecting any personal software or hardware to the organization's network and making electronic and physical backups of important information.
Waldrop will be speaking on more ways to protect businesses during the seminar, sponsored by the Palestine Economic Development Corporation and the Palestine Chamber of Commerce. It will be held in the Ben E. Keith Community Room from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tickets are $10 each and RSVPs are requested.
More information about PG Technology can be found at www.pgtechinc.com/pgtechnology-inc-texas.html