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Cybersecurity meeting becomes a wake-up call for rental operator

By Connie Lannan

February 16, 2023

Scott Bryant

Scott Bryant

Cybersecurity has always been a concern of Scott Bryant, owner, Bryant’s Rent-All, Lexington, Ky. That concern intensified after attending an ARA of Kentucky meeting on this topic last year. At the meeting, he discovered some of his old passwords were lurking on the dark web.  

“The presenter found some passwords of mine that I have used in the past. That indicated they were compromised at one point, but I don’t know when. That made me realize our vulnerability was mainly through our own ignorance. I knew we needed to take greater action,” he says.  

To lessen his vulnerability, Bryant used what he learned at the meeting and took the following steps:  

Brought in his local IT professional for assistance: “He helped strengthen our firewalls,” Bryant says. “He also helped us set up a VPN [virtual private network], so when we log into our system from outside of our network, we have a safer connection. We will no longer use unknown free Wi-Fi to avoid hackers.  In addition, he helped us set up a multifactor authentication system. We are trying to find as many accounts as possible to use this on.” 

Intensified his employee education: “One potential weak point is employees opening up an email or going online and unknowingly bringing in something detrimental to our computer network,” he says. “We have about 20 of our 50 employees using computers. We became more diligent in training those team members to look at emails and attachments before they open them. If they are uncertain, they should ask. We also have stressed creating strong, complicated passwords.” 

Backed up his system in two ways: “We started backing up our system remotely and locally so there is redundancy in our system,” he says.  

Checked more frequently for software updates: “We are checking often for updates regarding security patches to make sure we are up to date to help us combat hackers,” Bryant says.  

Put a plan in place in case a cellphone or laptop goes missing or is stolen: “As soon as we know it is missing, we will shut it down remotely to prevent anyone getting into the device and accessing our information,” he says.  

The biggest thing Bryant learned was to “take the time to implement these procedures because you don’t automatically see the damage at first. You may not think it is important, but it is just as important as your security alarm and cameras,” he says.