C-Forward was named one of Greater Cincinnati’s Top 10 IT Tech Firms to watch in 2017 by LEAD Magazine. Click here for the full story.
WHAT’S NEXT-GEN IN THEIR WORLD?
C-Forward Information Technologies
Brent Cooper, President and Owner
Due to the increasing rise of cyberattacks, C-Forward is looking ahead to NEXT-GEN products and services designed to help businesses better protect themselves. Security solutions that utilize artificial intelligence (AI) to provide real-time evaluation of applications and automatically quarantine malicious code are in the works. The potential for this kind of advancement will be a giant leap forward for cyber security.
“Cyberattacks have reached epidemic proportions,” says Brent Cooper. “At C-Forward, we take a multi-pronged approach because, unfortunately, there is no single solution. The big NEXT-GEN for us – which doesn’t sound very flashy but will make a big difference and help a lot of people – is anti-spam filtering technology. That’s an exciting development for us. New anti-spam solutions that automatically convert attachments to PDFs or monitor attachments in a sandbox area to confirm they are safe before sending are on the horizon, as are a variety of new firewalls that can provide cached web browsing and enhanced security services.”
New disaster recovery solutions that enable real-time testing and quick restores for the mobile workforce are also exciting developments, Cooper adds. New mobile solutions that automatically configure new devices, provide security updates, and enhance the mobile experience are right around the corner.
C-Forward is announcing that our President, Brent Cooper, has agreed to serve on the Northern Kentucky University Presidential Search Committee. In addition, Brent also serves as Co-Chair of the NKU Foundation Advocacy committee, and as a member of the NKU Haile/US Bank College of Business Advisory Board.
When asked about the presidential search committee Cooper said, “NKU is critical to our region, so it will be an honor to serve with such a distinguished group of community leaders, led by our search committee chair, Norm Desmarais. I have no doubt we will find a new President that will continue the tradition of excellence at Northern Kentucky University.”
C-Forward employs a number of NKU Graduates, including a Supervisor and Vice President.
The following letter explaining the search committee was sent by NKU’s Board of Regents Chair, Rich Boehne earlier today:
NKU campus community:
We’re making tremendous progress on our search for the university’s next president.
The search committee is now in place, led by Regent Norm Desmarais. Norm, working with the university community, solicited a broad and diverse group to handle this vital search. The 19 members represent talent and expertise from both inside and outside the university. They are listed below, or at http://presidentialsearch.nku.edu/.
Plus, we’re close to selecting the best external firm to assist with the nationwide search. This firm will work closely with the search committee to identify, recruit, assess and ultimately recommend candidates to interview for the position. Their participation in the process will ensure that we are provided with a rich and diverse pool of candidates that exemplify both the mission and ambition of Northern Kentucky University.
Soon, we’ll be holding listening sessions on campus to hear your thoughts and ideas in preparation for development of the job profile we’ll use to attract and screen candidates. These sessions are an essential step in the process, and we sincerely hope you’ll join us as we decide together what to look for in our next president.
While our schedule is aggressive, it will still take some months to get the best person in place. To bridge the gap between Geoff’s departure in May and the new president’s arrival, the regents will name an interim president to lead the university.
At the board meeting on March 15, I will propose that the regents consider and support Gerard St. Amand to serve in that interim role.
Most of you know Gerry from his service to the university as Vice President for University Advancement and Dean of Chase College of Law. If there is one trait that defines his career path, it is dedication. He could have easily served five additional years in the United States Army’s Judge Advocate General Corps and retired as a colonel. However, Gerry saw an opportunity to make an impact, so he left the Army to join NKU as Chase Law Dean. So too could he have quietly retired after his tenure as Vice President for Advancement came to an end, but he chose to return to the faculty of Chase Law where he continued his brilliant career of service and education to our students and university.
Gerry’s particular experience with our university, his familiarity with the strategies and culture that have come to define NKU, in addition to his proven and diverse leadership skills, make him my recommended candidate for this key positon.
It’s also important to note that by considering Gerry, we allow our senior campus leaders to continue their demanding roles without having to take on additional duties during this transition. Bringing him on board to an already strong senior leadership staff will allow NKU to continue its trajectory as a university on the rise while we search for our next president.
More to come. Just wanted to give you a preview of the recommendation that I will make to the board in a couple of weeks as well as additional updates on the presidential search process.
Presidential Search and Selection Committee
- Normand Desmarais (Chair) – Regent, Chairman & Founding Partner, TiER1 Performance Solutions
- David Bauer – Heavy Equipment/Grounds Operator, Operations and Maintenance
- Martin Butler – Attorney, Strauss Troy (Chase ’77)
- Garren Colvin – CEO, St. Elizabeth Healthcare (MBA ’96)
- Brent Cooper – President & Owner, C-Forward Information Technology
- Maureen Doyle – Chair & Associate Professor, Computer Science
- Virginia Fox – Regent, Former Executive Director & CEO, Kentucky Educational Television
- Rachel Green – Director, Human Relations & EEO, Human Resources
- Francoise Kazimierczuk – Assistant Professor, Allied Health
- Wendy Lea – CEO, Cintrifuse
- Monica Molestina – Undergraduate student, Organizational Leadership & Spanish
- Dannie Moore – Assistant Vice President, Student Inclusiveness
- David Raska – Assistant Professor, Marketing, Economics & Sports Business
- Cindy Reed – Dean, College of Education & Human Services
- Dennis Repenning – Regent, Attorney, Dennis Repenning PSC (Chase ’79)
- Lee Scheben – Regent, Executive Vice President, Heritage Bank (Chase ’91)
- David Singleton – Associate Professor, Chase College of Law
- Rebecca Walker – Acting Director, College of Informatics Advising
- Matthew Zacate – Associate Professor, Physics & Geology
Chair, Board of Regents
Mike Grout, who is now in his 11th year with C-Forward, is being promoted to that position.
Said C-Forward President Brent Cooper, “Mike’s dedication to improving and growing the organization has been critical to our success. He leads technical services not only in Northern Kentucky, but in the Lexington/Central Region as well. He has become a key resource for our staff and our clients.
As a Technical Services Manager, Mike hired and developed many of C-Forward’s service team members. An NKU graduate (Class of 2006) and a Leadership Northern Kentucky Graduate (Class of 2013), he has been leading the service team and is essential in the company’s internal operations.
As Vice President, Mike will continue leading the team towards more operational efficiencies and improved service delivery. Continuing as part of C-Forward’s leadership team, he will provide his expertise in sustaining C-Forward’s growth and providing future direction.
“Like many C-Forward employees, Mike has served the community in a number of ways. He served on the Northern Kentucky Workforce Investment Board, the Leadership Northern Kentucky Advisory Council, and has volunteered with Habitat for Humanity, just to name a few. His dedication to our community is impressive and is a wonderful example for other millennials within our organization.” Cooper said.
Said Grout, “It’s an honor to be promoted to Vice President at C-Forward. I am extraordinarily passionate about our mission and vision and I love the team that we’ve built. For me, trying to make our business, our employees, and our clients a little better is what gets me out of bed each morning. I always strive for continuous improvement in everything I do and I enjoy trying to instill that drive in others.”
Mike lives in Edgewood, KY with his wife Lisa and their dog Scooter.
Cybercrime reaches ‘epidemic’ levels in Greater Cincinnati
by Andy Brownfield – Reporter for Cincinnati Business Courier
A local cybersecurity expert says it’s not a matter of if your small business is being hacked, it’s how often.
Brent Cooper, president of Covington-based tech firm C-Forward, said there were 140 million new cyberattacks in 2014, which increased to 250 million in 2015. He said those attacks could be as much as four times higher in 2016.
“Cybercrime is now at an epidemic level and people don’t know just how bad it is,” Cooper told me. “We’re seeing attacks daily, and you can see them coming in minute by minute on firewalls and different security tools.”
Most attacks aren’t the giant breaches like what rocked Target in 2013 where thieves stole every credit card used at its 1,797 U.S. stores. Most cybercrime looks relatively benign, but it only looks that way. Most attacks are coming in as emails designed to trick the recipient into thinking it’s from an official or trusted source but in reality carries malicious software or malware, often something called “ransomware” that holds a computer system hostage until the owner pays hackers a ransom.
“These attacks can cripple a business,” Cooper said. “The criminals are getting paid, so they’re acting with impunity. The majority of small businesses are not even reporting them.”
BDO consulting director Jessica Allen told me cyber criminals have shifted their focus away from consumer data to attacking companies themselves. She said a CEO she worked with kept getting calls from his company on vacation and when he finally answered, his team wanted to double-check that he authorized a suspicious-looking $1 million payment. The hackers who sent the email even knew that the CEO was on vacation.
“There are two types of companies: ones that have been breached and ones who just don’t know it yet,” Allen said. “A lot of people think they’re too small, but there’s no such thing.”
One thing companies can do to safeguard against the kind of social engineering attacks like what the CEO Allen mentioned is to have a process in place where two different people have to authorize any payments that go out or use multiple means of communication such as a phone call to backstop email communication.
Cooper recommends multiple factors to authenticate any login or online transactions: something you have and something you know. The something you know would be a password or security question, while the something you have would be a token that is randomly generated and good for only 30 seconds so only the person in possession of it would be able to authenticate themselves.
“We are genuinely scared,” he said. “If we don’t start taking cybersecurity more seriously, it’s not going to get better, it’s going to get a lot worse.”
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