Every company should focus on cybersecurity because the internet is “like an open highway” and small companies are being attacked every day, David Emig, Windstream’s sales manager for small- and medium-sized business customers in Georgia, told a Jackson County audience Oct. 2.

Emig and Jason Beck, Windstream’s senior sales engineer for the state, spoke to the monthly Jackson County Chamber of Commerce breakfast.

“If you do business today, you need the internet,” Beck said, encouraging businesses to have a backup plan for when they are hacked.

Both men said more and more information is being “pumped through the internet.”

Beck added, “Speed has become really important because we’re sending so much more (information).”

Emig said even small companies are the subjects of ransomware routinely. He said that is because the small companies do not take the precautions that are necessary. Jackson County’s computer system was hacked and frozen last spring. The “ransom” was more than $400,000.

Beck said Georgia state law requires drivers to have automobile insurance. Internet security is an insurance policy, he said.

Computer criminals prey upon “loose” security, Beck said.

He also said that educating employees about internet security is among the most important aspects for a small business. He said that lack of knowledge caused most of the problems that exposed 32 million medical records in the first half of 2019.

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