State News

Cybersecurity experts teach NC businesses how to protect customer info

Posted December 15, 2015 4:44 a.m. EST
Updated December 15, 2015 4:51 p.m. EST

— In an era of security breaches by the hundreds of thousands, companies both large and small are working to limit the threat of exposure of their networks.

"Everybody has something worth stealing," said Ann Beauchesne, senior vice president of national security for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

The U.S. and N.C. chambers of commerce joined together Tuesday for a conference in Research Triangle Park to share concerns and best practices for cyber security.

Restaurants, retailers, health insurers, banks and utilities must protect customer data and trade secrets and secure transactions to retain credibility and confidence in an increasingly digital world.

"Many companies in the utility industry and the health care industry are trying to make sure that they protect information from hackers in foreign countries, from terrorist attacks or other intrusions," said Alicia Gilleskie of the Smith Anderson law firm.

"Companies really need to think about what are those crown jewels that you want to protect most," Beauchesne said.

In addition to keeping the lights on, Duke Energy works to keep safe the personal data for some 25 million customers.

"We have to constantly be looking at how we're understanding those threats, how we strengthen our networks, where we can ensure that we can recover if and when any sort of attacks occur," said A.R. Mullinax, executive vice president of Duke Energy.

Experts say new technology is constantly being developed to make computer networks more secure. But they also talked Tuesday about reacting to a security breach, getting a network back online and reassuring customers that their data is safe.