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From the Director’s Desk – SBA

By Mark S. Hayward

Hayward was appointed Rhode Island District Director of the U.S. Small Business Administration in March of 2000. Since that time he has served, on several occasions, as acting New England Regional Administrator as well as being appointed Senior Advisor to the 25th Administrator of the SBA, Linda McMahon.

As small business shifts to an ever more digital environment, it is important to understand how to protect yourself and your business. In our shops, stores and offices we have locks and security systems, but too often as we shift our services to an online platform we forget to ensure the same safeguards are met. This October will commemorate the 15th observance of National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, a month where federal agencies and private businesses work together to ensure that American businesses have the resources they need to protect themselves in a digital world.

Below are ten cybersecurity tips to help keep your small business safe online.

1. Protect against viruses, spyware, and other malicious code Make sure each of your business’s computers are equipped with antivirus software and antispyware and update regularly. Such software is readily available online from a variety of vendors. All software vendors regularly provide patches and updates to their products to correct security problems and improve functionality. Configure all software to install updates automatically.

2. Secure your networks Safeguard your Internet connection by using a firewall and encrypting information. If you have a Wi-Fi network, make sure it is secure and hidden. To hide your Wi-Fi network, set up your wireless access point or router so it does not broadcast the network name, known as the Service Set Identifier (SSID). Password protect access to the router.

3. Establish security practices and policies to protect sensitive information Establish policies on how employees should handle and protect personally identifiable information and other sensitive data. Clearly outline the consequences of violating your business’s cybersecurity policies.

4. Educate employees about cyberthreats and hold them accountable Educate your employees about online threats and how to protect your business’s data, including safe use of social networking sites. Depending on the nature of your business, employees might be introducing competitors to sensitive details about your firm’s internal business. Employees should be informed about how to post online in a way that does not reveal any trade secrets to the public or competing businesses. Hold employees accountable to the business’s Internet security policies and procedures.

5. Require employees to use strong passwords and to change them often Consider implementing multifactor authentication that requires additional information beyond a password to gain entry. Check with your vendors that handle sensitive data, especially financial institutions, to see if they offer multifactor authentication for your account.

6. Employ best practices on payment cards Work with your banks or card processors to ensure the most trusted and validated tools and anti-fraud services are being used. You may also have additional security obligations related to agreements with your bank or processor. Isolate payment systems from other, less secure programs and do not use the same computer to process payments and surf the Internet. Are you ready for the shift from magnetic-strip payment cards to safer, more secure chip card technology, also known as “EMV”? October 1st is the deadline set by major U.S. credit card issuers to be in compliance. Visit SBA.gov/EMV for more information and resources.

7. Make backup copies of important business data and information Regularly backup the data on all computers. Critical data includes word processing documents, electronic spreadsheets, databases, financial files, human resources files, and accounts receivable/payable files. Backup data automatically if possible, or at least weekly, and store the copies either offsite or on the cloud.

8. Control physical access to computers and network components Prevent access or use of business computers by unauthorized individuals. Laptops can be particularly easy targets for theft or can be lost, so lock them up when unattended. Make sure a separate user account is created for each employee and require strong passwords. Administrative privileges should only be given to trusted IT staff and key personnel.

9. Create a mobile device action plan Mobile devices can create significant security and management challenges, especially if they hold confidential information or can access the corporate network.. Require users to password protect their devices, encrypt their data, and install security apps to prevent criminals from stealing information while the phone is on public networks. Be sure to set reporting procedures for lost or stolen equipment.

10. Protect all pages on your public-facing websites, not just the checkout and sign-up pages

Source: SBA.gov – Top Ten Security Tips, Federal Communications Commission – Cybersecurity Tips for Small Business, Department of Homeland Security – Small Business Tip Card.

For more information visit www.SBA.gov/RI.

 

 

PLDO Joins Compass IT Compliance for the 2018 Cybersecurity Symposium

Featuring National and Local Cyber Security Experts and U.S. Congressman James Langevin

Rhode Island – September 27, 2018 – Pannone Lopes Devereaux & O’Gara LLC (PLDO) Partner Brian J. Lamoureux, a national authority on social and digital media law, and Senior Counsel Joel K. Goloskie, who provides privacy and security counsel to a range of privately-held and publicly-traded companies, will be featured speakers at the 2018 Cybersecurity Symposium, hosted by Compass IT Compliance, on Thursday, October 25, 2018 from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at The Meehan Overlook in North Providence. The symposium is being held in recognition of National Cyber Security Awareness Month, which aims to raise awareness and educate individuals and businesses about how to prevent and protect against the threat of online attacks by cyber criminals. U.S. Congressman James Langevin will headline the event’s speaking program, along with prominent federal and state law enforcement officials and cyber security professionals in business and academia.

The program includes multiple panels with industry-leading presenters covering topics such as “The Art of the Attack,” a review of cyber initiatives and concerns at the federal and state level, “cyber liability insurance 101,” business continuity planning and resiliency, and social and digital media legal issues and data protection strategies to minimize online cyber attacks.

Joining PLDO attorneys Lamoureux and Goloskie as speakers during the day-long symposium are Mark Weatherford, the nation’s first Deputy Undersecretary for Cybersecurity for the Department of Homeland Security and presently the Senior Vice President and Chief Cybersecurity Strategist at vArmour; Captain John Alfred of the Rhode Island State Police Cyber Crimes Unit and Fusion Center Commander; Lt Col Christopher N. Allen, the Detachment Commander and Director of Operations, 102d Cyberspace Operations Squadron in North Kingstown; Jesse Roberts, Professor of Cybersecurity and Network Engineering at the New England Institute of Technology; Brian Kelly, CISSP, CISM, CEH, MSIA, Chief Information Security Officer at Quinnipiac University; Mike Barry, VP of Information Technology at Coghlin Companies, Inc., and Warren Smay, Chief Technology Officer at Clear Harbor, LLC.

Registration is open to the public. Tickets are $50 and includes breakfast and lunch. All proceeds will go to The Sargent Rehabilitation Center in Rhode Island. For more information about the symposium, speakers and to register, visit 2018 Cybersecurity Symposium.

Attorney Lamoureux is a member of PLDO’s Employment, Litigation, Cyber Law, and Corporate & Business Teams. His extensive practice areas include complex commercial litigation, employment law, construction law, social media law, and creditors’ rights. In addition to being an accomplished business litigator, he is a frequent guest speaker, published author and broadcast commentator on social and digital media legal issues in the news, having made appearances on WPRI-TV, WJAR-TV, WPRO-AM, and NECN-TV. He also created and teaches an MBA-level course called “Digital and Social Media in the Business Environment” at his alma mater, Providence College, where he is also a Practitioner Faculty member. In 2011, he was honored for his achievements by Providence Business News with a 40 Under Forty award. Attorney Lamoureux holds a Master of Arts degree in Political Science from the University of Rhode Island and earned his J.D., magna cum laude, from the Syracuse University College of Law. At the same time, he received a Master of Public Administration from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. He is qualified to serve as a receiver in Rhode Island Superior Court.

Attorney Goloskie is a member of the firm’s Corporate & Business Law, Health Care Law, Cyber Law and Litigation Teams. His extensive practice ranges from assisting clients with corporate and regulatory compliance issues to HIPAA privacy matters to contract drafting and management, and mergers and acquisitions. He has written extensively on cybersecurity issues and is the author of The Real Risk Of GDPR Non-Compliance In Your Organization and Why Cyber Insurance is Not Enough. Prior to his law career, he founded a highly successful health care consulting firm, providing reimbursement, compliance and strategic advisory services to over sixty hospitals in fifteen states. Attorney Goloskie received a J.D. from Boston College Law School, an M.B.A. from Webster University, and a B.S. from Thomas College. He is admitted to practice in state and federal courts of Massachusetts and Rhode Island and was recognized by his peers as among The Best Lawyers in America for 2019 by Best Lawyers® for his health care practice.

For information about how PLDO can assist with your organization’s cyber security compliance planning and strategies and other related legal or business issues, please contact attorneys Lamoureux and Goloskie at 401-824-5100 or email bjl@pldolaw.com and jgoloskie@pldolaw.com. For information about PLDO, visit www.pldolaw.com and follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.

About Pannone Lopes Devereaux & O’Gara LLC Pannone Lopes Devereaux & O’Gara (“PLDO”) attorneys are highly skilled with a proven track record of achievement representing clients with respect to complex matters in a wide range of disciplines and industries. The founders of PLDO were formerly partners in an international law firm and are trained in multiple disciplines. The primary areas of practice for the firm include business law, special masterships, government relations and legislative strategies, civil litigation, real estate development, commercial lending, municipal law, nonprofit law, cyber law, health care law, white collar defense, estate planning, probate administration and trust litigation. The core values of respect, integrity, quality service and responsiveness are stressed each day at PLDO and the firm is committed to supporting the community in a meaningful way. The firm is headquartered at 1301 Atwood Avenue in Johnston, RI with offices in Massachusetts and Florida. For more information, visit www.pldolaw.com.

SBA Now Accepting Nominations for 2019 Small Business Awards

National Small Business Week will be observed from May 5 – 11, 2019

PROVIDENCE, RI – Nominations are now being accepted by the U.S. Small Business Administration for the 2019 Small Business Awards. National award categories include, the SBA’s flagship award – Small Business Person of the Year – as well as Small Business Exporter of the Year.

Local and Regional award nomination will be accepted in the following categories: Jeffrey Butland Family Owned Small Business, Minority Small Business Owner of the Year, Veteran Small Business Owner the Year, Woman Small Business Owner of the Year, Homebased Small Business Owner of the Year, Microenterprise of the Year, Young Entrepreneur, Small Business Manufacturer of the Year, and Financial Services Champion.

National winners will be honored during Small Business Week in Washington D.C., while local awardees will be honored at the Rhode Island “Salute to Small Business” Awards Luncheon. Nominations will be accepted until December 21, 2018 at 3:00pm EST.

Any individual or organization dedicated to the support of the small business community may submit nominations for these prestigious awards.

The Rhode Island Small Business Person of the Year will also have the opportunity to participate in the National Small Business Week activities and will compete for the National Small Business Person of the Year Award.

Award guidelines and nomination forms are available at www.SBA.gov/nsbw or by contacting Ryan Brissette at (401) 528-4630, Ryan.Brissette@SBA.gov.

 

About the U.S. Small Business Administration

The U.S. Small Business Administration makes the American dream of business ownership a reality. As the only go-to resource and voice for small businesses backed by the strength of the federal government, the SBA empowers entrepreneurs and small business owners with the resources and support they need to start and grow their businesses. It delivers services to people through an extensive network of SBA field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations. To learn more, visit www.sba.gov.

RI Foundation launches new resource for startups and small businesses

RIBizBuilder.com will support the Foundation’s goal of strengthening the economy

 

PROVIDENCE, RI – Startups and small businesses looking to expand have a new resource. The Rhode Island Foundation today launched RIBizBuilder.com, an online directory to information about low- and no-cost help with borrowing, marketing to potential customers, local regulations and taxes, finding employees and more.

The website gives entrepreneurs access to information about dozens of Rhode Island-focused organizations offering services that help start and grow businesses in the Ocean State.

“Whether you are an established business, or a startup, or if you just have an idea, the point of RI BizBuilder is to quickly connect you with the people and entities that can help you with whatever you need, so you can move on, quickly,” said Jessica David, the Foundation’s executive vice president for strategy and community investments.

The directory was created by the Foundation in partnership with the Center for Women & Enterprise, Rhode Island Commerce Corporation, Rhode Island Small Business Development Center and many other partners with funding from the Foundation. The initiative supports the Foundation’s Economic Security strategic initiative.

“RI BizBuilder is easy to use; just answer four questions about the stage of your business, the type of assistance you’re looking for, your industry and whether you have any special circumstances. The site will find the most relevant information for you. You choose who you want to connect with, and RI BizBuilder will contact the provider on your behalf,” said David.

“Starting and running a business is no easy task. Small business owners are among the most resilient, hard-working, determined and creative people I know. But even they can’t do it alone all the time. And finding time to find the assistance and information that can help – about capital, marketing, regulations, talent, and more – has not been as easy as it should be,” said David.

The site contains more than 100 listings of resources and services that are available for startups and small businesses in Rhode Island. Visitors can narrow their search using a variety of filters including the type of assistance they are looking for, their industry and special factors such gender or military veteran status.

“RI BizBuilder is designed to help entrepreneurs navigate the landscape of business supports in the state. This is a resource to find low-and no-cost support services in Rhode Island. We are excited for you to try it out, and to send us feedback,” said Carmen Diaz-Jusino, the Foundation’s strategic program officer for economic security.

RIBizBuilder.com was launched at a gathering of business leaders in Central Falls, Central Falls Mayor James Diossa led the RI BizBuilder partners and representatives of other business services organizations on a tour of small businesses in the Dexter Street commercial district.

“Central Falls has businesses that are both expanding and starting up,” said Mayor Diossa. “It is essential now more than ever that they have one central location where they can obtain all of the information and support that businesses in the past had not been privy to. The launching of this site has just made Rhode Island more business friendly.”

Alba Lucia Rios, owner of Tienda Alinary in Central Falls, was impressed after she saw a demonstration of the website.

“This is a great resource because in Rhode Island there are a lot of resources for small businesses. Many of the organizations included in the directory helped me when I needed it the most,” she said.

The Foundation plans a series of main street strolls and informational sessions across Rhode Island to introduce business owners and entrepreneurs to ribizbuilder.com face-to-face. Events are being planned for Cranston, Pawtucket, Providence, Warren and Woonsocket.

The Rhode Island Foundation is the largest and most comprehensive funder of nonprofit organizations in Rhode Island. Working with generous and visionary donors, the Foundation raised $38 million and awarded $43 million in grants to organizations addressing the state’s most pressing issues and needs of diverse communities in 2017.Through leadership, fundraising and grant making activities, often in partnership with individuals and organizations, the Foundation is helping Rhode Island reach its true potential. For more information, visit rifoundation.org.