Yahoo’s massive breach of user accounts and personal data is still fresh in our minds. Data breach incidents of U.S. retailers Target and Home Depot are among the many others when the customer’s data and credit card information were compromised. In other cases, cyber criminals steal money from bank accounts and carry out industrial espionage, often going unnoticed for years. Organizations must respond to increased cyber threats by adopting comprehensive cybersecurity measures. Las Vegas, Nevada based ProStar Solutions, Inc.—a managed service provider and cybersecurity consulting firm—took up the challenge and focuses on cybersecurity and proactive business continuity solutions for Small & Medium Businesses. With 26 years of experience in the IT industry, Delon Lukow, CEO & Founder of ProStar Solutions has an intense drive to educate and protect business owners from evolving cybersecurity threats.
Lukow owes a lot of his entrepreneurial skills and inclinations to his parents. “My parents taught me the value of entrepreneurship,” he recalls. ProStar Solutions was founded in 1999 as a value added reseller and traditional networking solutions provider. By 2009, as managed services started gaining momentum, ProStar capitalized on this industry wide transition and moved all of their clients to this proactive approach to IT services. They ramped up their offerings with a full range of on premise and hosted cloud solutions, further minimizing the risk to business owners at the mercy of the old reactive break/fix service model. Lukow explains, “Managed services allow a truly proactive and enabling means for small businesses to grow and scale with the same IT resources, tools, and support powering the largest enterprises.”
Always learning and continuing to improve, Lukow became quite intrigued by the principles taught in Simon Sinek’s book ‘Start With Why.” Said Lukow, “It resonated with me that WHY we do something is much more important than WHAT we do or even HOW we do it.” Lukow internalized Sinek’s principles with his own “I believe” statement. “I believe it is our privilege to live in this great country…where small businesses provide the majority of jobs and the bedrock of our economy.” He goes on to explain, “…that foundation is at serious risk today because of the seismic threat to the data upon which all businesses rely. Empowering small businesses with proactive support and advanced cybersecurity measures gives owners of those businesses confidence and greater peace of mind to boldly move forward, making a real impact on the broader economy.”
All businesses today depend on their stored data and the constant flow of data with clients and suppliers. Ultimately, either the business owner or the boards of directors are now liable and accountable for that data. Constantly evolving cyber threats require nonstop education, training, and focus to counter those threats with people, process, and technology. In the case of Lukow’s clients, he is the outsourced CIO entrusted with that continual education.
Cybersecurity threats demand we act and not be acted upon. Hope is not a plan!
The school of hard knocks can be one of the most poignant of any educational “opportunity.” Lukow details his wakeup call to cybersecurity in the spring of 2014 when his best client of 17 years received an 80 question self-audit from a Major US Bank for which they were performing subcontracted legal work. “I flippantly responded to the majority of those questions with, ‘does not apply: single location, single server, 20 users’ and emailed it off.”The Bank’s non-humorous reaction came a few weeks later in the form of an onsite audit conducted by a Big 4 accounting firm. Lukow recalled, “This was a 9 hour, 320 question invasive cavity searching probe into every nook and cranny of the IT infrastructure and data flow of that law firm. At the time, I was completely shell-shocked and thought not even most world governments would be able to pass that audit.” On the heels of the Bank’s numerous widely publicized breaches, their Technology Risk Program was setup to address the requirements of multiple federal agencies and the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act. All of the Bank’s vendors would eventually be required to undergo the same audit. Hundreds of hours and tens of thousands of dollars were spent remediating every exception item over the next several months. Non-compliance would be to forfeit a significant share of revenue for the firm.
The takeaway for Lukow was a healthy appreciation for the scope and magnitude of the issues surrounding cybersecurity and a newly discovered universal truth that he now shares with all current and prospective clients. “Your security policy of people, process, and technology is driven by the type of data you have, not your employee headcount or the size of your company.” He also teaches to all business owners, “Compliance and Security are two sides of the same coin but not necessarily correlated. Just remember that both Target and Home Depot were ‘compliant’ right up until the time they were hacked. Once hacked and now by definition not ‘secure’, they were no longer ‘compliant’. Compliance is mandated - Security should come from within and from the top and be baked into the very core of your business. You and you alone are responsible to make sure that happens.”
To ensure the security of their client’s data, ProStar employs a series of ever widening concentric circles. A fully managed firewall is a critical component of that strategy and Lukow is excited to be one of the very first Cybersecurity Solution Providers to roll out a joint solution by distributor Ingram Micro, industry leading firewall vendor Check Point, and cyber security operations center provider Foresite. One of ProStar’s key clients is La Paloma Funeral Services and their subsidiary Simple Cremation with nine combined offices throughout Northern and Southern Nevada. ProStar supports them all remotely and deployed this fully managed security service which includes monitoring, identification, alerting, escalation and remediation. While not yet under a compliance mandate, General Manager Ryan Bowen clearly understands the other side of the coin with the security implication of tens of thousands of deceased vital records being compromised and the devastating impact that would have on their business.
In all, ProStar manages over 30 different solutions and vendors on the backend while assuming the singular role of virtual CIO to their clients. Those clients include verticals in accounting, finance, legal, construction, and health care.
Delon Lukow is a people person. He is passionate about people. He is passionate about educating business owners to take responsibility and ensure the safety of the data entrusted to them. He is passionate about empowering business owners to succeed.
Lukow enjoys speaking to groups of any size and welcomes the opportunity to consult with companies near and far.