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Angie Venekamp, your ARA regional director, talks cyber vigilance

By Angie Venekamp, ECP-SM

September 5, 2023

Angie Venekamp, ECP-SM

Angie Venekamp, ECP-SM

The more we rely on technology, the more we increase the risk of a cyber breach. According to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, there have been over 150,000 reports of cyberfraud in Canada with over $600 million stolen since January 2021. The stats go on and on, but the chilling bottom line is that we are vulnerable to costly cybercrimes every day.

Here are some quick tips that could help reduce the risk of a breach:

  • Backing up your computer software is crucial, and it doesn’t hurt to have it stored in more than one method, i.e., cloud-based and external hard drives.
  • Increase your firewall’s strength.
  • Concerning theft of proprietary information, protect yourself against staff sharing your information should they part with your company; employment contracts will help with this.

What else can we do to be proactive and guard against cyberthreats as best we can? It starts with making sure, from the top all the way down in our operations, that our staff is educated. One quick and easy way to start that education is by utilizing RentalU — the American Rental Association’s (ARA) online education and training platform. Login at RentalU, type in “cyber” in the search field and you’ll find several helpful resources. Here are just a couple of examples:

Cybersecurity Basics — Part of ARA’s Prioritize Safety Series, this short video covers the different types of threats in the digital world, the problems that they can cause and how to prevent them.

Importance of Cybersecurity in Your Rental Business — A recording of an ARA-hosted webinar that shares information on cybersecurity awareness. The webinar was presented by staff from Network Coverage, a technology solutions provider with a national presence that has partnered with ARA to provide members with a first line of defense.

All of these are free to you with your ARA membership. I encourage you to utilize them to help make your business less susceptible to those out there in the cyber realm who have made it their mission to steal from the likes of you and me.

I also encourage you to take a moment to read the feature story in this month’s In Your Region. It’s an interview with Emmett Long, an ARA Insurance agent who has some interesting and helpful takes on preventing cybercrime in a rental business.

The ARA Foundation and The Toro Company Foundation are doing a Community Impact Program project in Langley, British Columbia, on Wednesday, Sept. 6, and Thursday, Sept. 7. The organization chosen for the project is the Pacific Riding for Developing Abilities (PRDA), which offers therapeutic horse riding for a diverse group of individuals.

Several volunteers from our community of equipment and event rental people will be taking part in the PRDA project. We’ll be working to replace the footing in the riding arenas, building a sensory walkway, painting the arenas and some fencing, as well as digging some trenches for electrical conduit to get power to their paddocks to keep the water troughs from freezing in the winter.

We are excited about the interest that this project has created amongst our membership. If you are nearby and would like to help us at PRDA, we would love to have you — the more hands we have, the more we can do to help this organization continue its great work. You can find more details here.

Until next time,

Angie Venekamp, ECP-SM, ARA Region Ten director
Rental Network
Squamish, British Columbia