First Northern receives cybersecurity award

Each day, the firewalls at local businesses prevent tens of thousands of would-be attacks. And while those security systems are hard at work in the background, CyberWyoming has launched a statewide effort to raise awareness of how critical cybersecurity is by identifying best practices in the state.

Last week, First Northern Bank received first place in CyberWyoming’s cybersecurity competition for small businesses at the Wyoming Cybersecurity Symposium.

“It’s a pretty cool thing,” said Rick Myers, chief operating officer. “Our IT partner reached out to us and suggested we enter this competition and go through their tabletop exercise. They go through everything we have from a cybersecurity aspect.”

The contest was sponsored by CyberWyoming – a nonprofit organization that seeks to encourage best practices in cybersecurity and advance the security of Wyoming through information sharing.

The competition consisted of representatives from the bank and the bank’s IT partner DigeTekS poring over the bank’s cybersecurtity system with members of CyberWyoming. Everything was on the table, according to Myers, from the front-end protection to business continuity and the back-end recovery procedures should an attack occur.

Myers said the goal of the competition is to provide a service to small businesses and to raise awareness about the potential threats of cybersecurity.

“Just by virtue of going through that exercise (the competition), it helps the business identify where they’re strong or where they need to improve,” Myers said. “I’d encourage businesses to go through this process, especially in light of what happened at the hospital in Gillette last month.”

In September, the computers at Campbell County Health were attacked, with ransomware causing serious computer issues that ultimately led the hospital to divert patients from the emergency room and cancel many exams and procedures.

     Myers said that because  banks are so regulated, it is likely they are ahead of the curve in general on cybersecurity and this award provides them a platform to encourage other businesses in the state to be aware of the threats and dangers.

“The conversation continues to bring awareness to everybody’s understanding of  cyber threats and what steps can be taken to protect our personal information,” Myers said.

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