President's Message: Learning from the Sometimes Painful Experiences of Others

President's Message

President's Message: Learning from the Sometimes Painful Experiences of Others

Ransomware attacks should be on your radar

One of the most valuable reasons to attend SBCA meetings are the unexpected things you learn. At the most recent Board meeting in San Diego, it was mentioned during the IT Committee report that they were discussing ways to educate component manufacturers (CMs) on the risks and impacts of ransomware attacks.

A ransomware attack is when someone in-filtrates your company’s network, encrypts your files so you can’t access them and then demands payment to have those files decrypted. That announcement prompted a CM in the room to recount how his company had recently been a victim of a ransomware attack.

Over the next half hour, everyone in the room learned many sobering facts about how easy it can be for a company to fall victim to one of these attacks. Such an attack can render a CM helpless because there is no way to access design files, customer contracts, customer contact information, and even data files to run their equipment. In fact, depending on the CM’s dependence on technology, they may not even be able to operate their machinery at all or even use their phone system.

The costs associated with recovery can be steep as the businesses specializing in helping a company decrypt their files (assuming they don’t pay the ransom) are in high demand and their services are very labor intensive as they need to remove the encryption virus from every file you have on your servers.

It was an eye-opening account, and it’s hard to express how appreciative I was that this individual was willing to share the details of their ordeal so openly. I think by the end, everyone in the room had the threat of ransomware firmly affixed on their radar. I wouldn’t be surprised to hear that almost everyone went back to their offices the next week and made sure to ask their IT department what was being done to protect the company from such an attack.

This wasn’t the first time someone has spontaneously shared an observation or a detailed a best practice learned from painful experience at an SBCA meeting. They can happen during a focused conversation on a planned topic, or they can come out in an unanticipated way, but regardless these shared experiences educate us all and help us improve our own businesses and develop tools and resources to benefit the entire industry.

We had a record number of attendees in San Diego, and the value of the conversations reflected the additional perspectives we gained in the room. If you haven’t attended an SBCA meeting before, or you’ve missed them for a while, I want to strongly encourage you to come to our next one in Fort Worth, June 4-6. You never know what you might learn but it is likely it will help you improve your business in a meaningful way.