Look Back on 2015

An article by Evan Leonard, President, CHIPS Technology Group Inc.

As part of our monthly newsletter, I like to take an opportunity at the end of each year to reflect upon what has happened within our industry and how I see it moving forward. Last year I spoke about the rising use of on-demand cloud services such as Snapchat or DropBox, and the cyber-security issues that these services present. I predicted we would see more data breaches like the iCloud Photo Breach or “The Snappening” – which we did on a larger scale with the infamous Ashley Madison hack that occurred this past summer.

The idea of “Hacktivism” or ‘hacking for a cause’ is one that’s spreading rapidly – and literally has no boundaries. One of the more well-known Hacktivist groups is Anonymous – a loosely knitted, decentralized group of hackers committed to fighting against worldwide control and censorship.

Ashley Madison offered its members a service where their data could be completely wiped for a fee. It turns out that statement was false as hackers, or hacktivists, found the “deleted” information and exposed it for all the world to see. The reason? Ashley Madison lied to its members and the hackers wanted to expose the corruption & fraud.

Now, although Ashley Madison was targeted because the company was lying to its members – it wasn’t the true victim in this attack. There are currently lawsuits pending against the company from family members whose loved ones have taken their own lives as a result. There were high-profile government agents who had personal information exposed –potentially putting their lives and the lives of their loved ones at risk. There were reality TV stars such as Josh Duggar of “19 Kids and Counting” who were exposed in the attacks – and who had no shortage of enemies willing to use that information to further their own agendas.

Some people may say that what happened to the members of Ashley Madison had it coming. It’s easy to try and justify the attack from a moral standpoint as a way to calm your own fears. It becomes harder when you block out context and look strictly at the facts: Someone didn’t like that a company had lied; and, in retaliation accessed sensitive data of its members and exploited that information.

Who’s to say your business is any different? What’s stopping a group of hacktivists from exploiting your systems and bringing you down just because they don’t agree with the line of business that one of your clients just happens to be in?

If 2015 has shown me anything, it’s that every company needs to start thinking of themselves as a technology company. The data-breaches of 2014 targeted mainly retail-oriented commercial chains. With the rise of the “Internet of Things”, it’s only a matter of time before we see a news story about some person’s internet-connected locks being hacked and their home being broken into…

After 22 years of business, each seems to bring new adventures and challenges to overcome. As Bill Gates once said “It’s fine to celebrate success, but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure.” While we at CHIPS recognize successful changes made to our support and services over the past year, we identify and acknowledge where we need significant improvements as well. With the commitment from employees and ownership, we are determined to keep moving towards our goal of becoming a better company.

In 2016, I expect our clients to further benefit from these changes and for all of us to have another successful year. Technology evolves fast, faster than any person or business. CHIPS recognizes the need to adapt to a rapidly changing marketplace, and we embrace our willingness to change in order to provide a better experience for our clientele.

I would like to personally thank each and every one of our clients for another great year. At CHIPS, our goal is not only to optimize your technology, but to optimize your business as well. If there is anything we can do to better service your company, please let me know (eleonard@chipstechnologygroup.com) since we take tremendous pride in making our client’s technology experience a great one. I can’t thank you enough for allowing CHIPS to be your partner in servicing you for all your technology needs.