Perhaps you read about cybersecurity in the news, use two-factor authentication, and store your logins on a password manager app. But as the technology landscape changes at warp speed, do you really know the ins and outs of today’s digital security threats? During this week’s DIG SOUTH Tech Summit, you’ll have the chance to learn from industry expert Brad Alexander, VP and CTO at Immedion. Leveraging his nearly two-decades long career in IT, he leads the company’s technology strategy and advises enterprise-level clients on how to best navigate evolving security challenges.

Here, get an exclusive sneak peek at his upcoming panel discussion, how to begin improving your company’s cybersecurity, and the industry trends we all need to know.

Tell us more about Immedion.

Immedion is a managed services and IT infrastructure provider headquartered in Greenville with additional offices and data centers from Charleston, SC to Columbus, IN. Our goal is to provide the services of a national provider with the care of a local provider. That means offering a full suite of managed services plus state-of-the-art data centers and cloud services, backing all of this up with live, local support.

What does a day in the life entail for you as the company’s CTO?

With the pace that technology is changing and Immedion being in aggressive growth mode, both naturally and through acquisition, my day-to-day has changed very much over the past 2 years. Previously, I was focused on leveraging emerging technologies to solve problems for our customer base while evangelizing the service and product sets throughout our markets.

Today, I spend a large portion of my time listening to customers and engaging change through partner and vendor advisory channels. We have a very strong set of partners who have current or in-development solutions to tackle many of the changing needs in the technology landscape. I work to align the product sets and new features to meet our company, cloud and overall service set goals to continue to provide turn-key solutions to our customer base. Another key focus has been within our development group where we continue to deepen our product integrations and offer customers insight into the product, managed services and cloud services we provide.

How has cloud technology and security changed in the nine years since you joined Immedion?

Cloud has changed dramatically over the past nine years. When we began offering cloud, the focus was more around providing a hands-off service that customers just wanted to work. Immedion was part of a small niche, with very little competition from other providers and the current mega cloud providers. Cloud customers were considered extremely forward-thinking  and there was a very limited service set and very few quality providers.

Today, cloud services are much more than just virtualized compute resources, they’re an operational mindset shift for an organization. The cloud is so many things to everyone, from IAAS, PAAS, SAAS, micro services, storage, etc, but everyone has one thing in common: the cloud needs to be an elastic model that provides higher uptime, unwavering business continuity and more speed and agility to the technology resources within the organization. Customers demand visibility, flexibility and security and now have more choices and providers to choose from than ever.

Are there certain cybersecurity / digital privacy trends that every business should have on their radar?

One of the things we’re most concerned about for our clients is targeted phishing. Studies show that phishing emails have increased, and experience shows us that they’re evolving – it’s becoming increasingly more difficult to tell a legitimate email from a phishing attempt. Businesses should be focusing on leveraging technology and employee training to improve security in this area.

What’s the best place to start if a business is looking to improve their cybersecurity?

If you’re starting from scratch, you need to invest in firewall and antivirus, plus get some policies in place on security training for employees, password management and software patching. Each of these is a critical element to ensuring your cybersecurity.

If you already have those items in place, I’d recommend improving your technology. For instance, if you’re using a basic firewall and antivirus, you could upgrade to a next generation firewall that includes web content filtering, network-based antivirus, IDS, etc. You can also add on Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) technology, which helps you recognize when you have been attacked – studies are showing that it takes companies about 200 days to recognize a data breach, so if you can reduce that gap you really should.

If you could debunk one myth or misconception around cybersecurity, what would it be?

Many businesses do not truly understand what is at risk within their network. Organizations assume that having anti-virus and a firewall is enough to protect them from cyber-attacks while this only stops the novice or uneducated attacker.  To improve your security posture, organizations must not only have firewalls and antivirus but ensure items such as log monitoring, intrusion detection and prevention, best practice setup, and security training are consistently used and reviewed internally or by a managed service provider (MSP).

Immedion is headquartered in Greenville, SC. What makes South Carolina a great place to run a tech company?

Immedion really thrives in areas where there is great IT talent. As South Carolina’s economy has grown, it seems to be attracting more talent, which means that as we expand, we have a ready pool of qualified individuals to tap. What’s more, the attraction of tech talent has led to fertile ground for growth and innovation.

Are you and your organization’s data, privacy, and intellectual property safe from cyber attack? How do you know? And how should you respond when you discover a breach? Don’t miss Brad Alexander’s DIG SOUTH Tech Summit session, “Top Trends in Cybersecurity to Protect Your Business and Maintain Digital Privacy,” where he and fellow expert panelists will discuss the latest global threats and what you should be doing from the technical and managerial perspective to safeguard your business and yourselves from privacy and security risks.