Star Awards & Promos, a business based in Laramie, Wyoming, became the first cyber safe retailer in Wyoming after taking part in the 2018 Wyoming Cybersecurity Competition for Small Businesses. The company provides promotional products, business gifts, and awards for sale in-store and online.
Star Awards & Promos has been in business for over 25 years. When Shantel and Gustav Anderson purchased the shop in 2016, there was still a paper accounting system, a rotary engraver, and other older technologies. The shop purchased its first laser engraver in October. “We’ve really updated it to modernize,” Shantel Anderson tells A&E. “We were fairly proactive when we first purchased the business in making sure that our systems were secure.”
Knowing friends that ran into issues and wanting to make sure customers are protected is what made the issue of cyber security important to the Andersons. “Anyone is subject to a breach and sometimes it’s not even data that you think of,” states Anderson. She goes on to explain that many people tend to think breached information is mostly credit card information, but it’s also other pieces that most might not think about as needing to be secure, such as addresses and phone numbers.
According to Anderson, best practices of cyber security consist of changing passwords on a regular basis and not reusing similar phrases. It’s also making sure that you have proper antivirus software, conduct backups, test things regularly, and all of your systems are updated and in place, as far as getting regular updates and patches. “Training your staff is a big one, especially with emails, because that’s where a lot of cyber attacks start,” Anderson elaborates.
She now encourages others to take part in the competition for 2019. “It’s not quite as time-consuming and daunting as it seems when you first look at it,” Anderson explains. “Especially when you're walking through it with someone that's willing to help you.”
To complete the competition, Anderson went through a checklist with Cyber Wyoming during monthly meetings. “I was able to update my business to make sure that it was cyber secure,” Anderson explains. “(Cyber Wyoming) can get you information about what you need and connect you to the people, resources, or software that you’re looking for.”
Components of the checklist included PCI compliance, password policy, email policy, and so on, to prevent breaches of personal and customer information. Another qualification of the competition was to track your progress from the moment you start to see how far you advance throughout it. Anderson says the process took about six or seven months overall, but she was able to work on bits and pieces over time.
The competition “helps to raise the awareness of the issue of cybersecurity,” Anderson adds. “It reminds you that you can do it and it’s really not that hard, especially when you’re walking through it with someone that’s willing to help you. This helps break it into bite-size pieces.”
Another perk of the competition is the recognition that Star Awards has received. “Customers do notice because people are starting to look more at being cyber secure.”
Learn more about Star Awards & Promos at www.starawards.promo.
Are you located in Wyoming? Learn more about the Cybersecurity competition at cyberwyoming.org.