By Tamas Mondovics

With a topic of cyber security on its program, the Greater Brandon Chamber of Commerce was pleased to host its monthly Synergy membership luncheon.

On the first Tuesday of each month, the luncheon is held at The Regent, 6437 Watson Rd. in Riverview.

A good example of the Chamber’s continued effort to benefit its members was the invitation of FBI special agent A.J. Gilman, who thanks to his expertise on the Bureau’s cyber security squad, addressed the subject, which was very much on the minds of all present.
The Chamber has had its ups and downs lately, including the most recent incident affecting all of its members when hackers attacked its computer system.

“They had stolen everything,” said Christine Michaels, Brandon Chamber of Commerce Executive Director. “Years worth of valuable data had been lost.”

Michaels explained that the Chamber leadership had no idea how to recover what was lost, eventually prompting the board to turn to DataCorps Technology Solutions a local Brandon IT Services Company and its CEO, Angel Rojas.

“I called Angel and I said, ‘Can you please come help us?’ He came right away, dropped other appointments,” Michaels recalled the events during the luncheon, adding, “He literally dropped everything to do whatever was needed to help the Chamber in its hour of need.”
Rojas also developed a program to help reconnect members who had lost touch with the Chamber, affectively strengthening the group as a whole.

“All of our businesses are vulnerable,” Gilman said.

In sharing some quick tips that the lunch hour time-frame allotted, Gilman first mentioned that each attack is a result of a combination of a number of steps.

“It’s never just one thing that leads to an attack,” he said, “A big problem is over confidence and lack of vigilance when it comes to updates in hardware and software, and security,” he said.

Gilman emphasized that the Bureau first focuses on larger establishments that affect many such as energy companies or financial institutions, while added that these larger facilities can also recover easier and faster as they can afford paying off hackers who through ransom ware may hold businesses hostage by stealing data or shooting the whole system down.

Lunch was provided by Cater Tampa and the next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, April 4. For more information about the Greater Brandon Chamber of Commerce please visit, www.brandonchamber.com.