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Tourism attracts new cyber security firm to Savannah

  • Charles Johnson

Savannah’s tourism industry has played a role in attracting a new business to Bull Street.

Managed service provider EDTS, LLC, and its cyber security affiliate, EDTS Cyber, LLC., are headquartered in Augusta with offices also in Columbia, S.C., Greenville, S.C. and Ashville, N.C.

Company founder and CEO Charles Johnson said Savannah is a great fit for the EDTS group.

“Savannah’s strengths are a mirror of our own,” Johnson said.

Johnson pointed to Savannah’s steady economic and employment growth, particularly in the hospitality/tourism, manufacturing, shipping and logistics, and business service sectors.

“Hotels and restaurants must protect their visiting customers’ data and maintain PCI-DSS compliance,” Johnson said. “You don’t want visitors to come and have their ID stolen.”

EDTS designs, installs and optimize IT systems. EDTS Cyber secures IT systems and protects data.

Both companies serve a variety of clients across major industries, including health care, manufacturing, professional services, logistics, banking, along with federal, state and local governments.

Johnson said clients have also included hotels, including Marriott, and large restaurant chains.

Threats to business data are constant, Johnson said.

“Criminals are sophisticated,” Johnson said. “There is no way a company without dedicated resources can keep up.”

Johnson and his staff have plenty of horror stories from businesses that show how easy it can be to fall victim.

“You can spend millions — all the money in the world — and someone can have a ‘rouge’ device that causes problems,” Johnson said. “The intent is usually not malicious, but about convenience.”

Johnson said a Las Vegas doctor learned that lesson the hard way, Johnson said.

The doctor had a large saltwater aquarium that he wanted to be able to monitor remotely.

That device allowed a breach that exposed medical records, Johnson said.

EDTS has also dealt with a number of ransomware attacks.

“Here’s the thing people don’t realize,” Johnson said. “99 percent of the time they’ve been in your network for some time (before the ransomware demand).”

Johnson said his company has pulled logs that showed a system had been in breach for three years before the ransom demand.

“Ransomware is usually the side effect after the hackers have exhausted the usefulness of your data,” Johnson said.

Johnson said his company worked with a municipality that received a ransomware demand.

Hackers only asked for 250 in Bitcoin and the city wanted to pay up to have their data released.

“You’re not going to get clean data back,” Johnson said. “They (hackers) put in traps.”

Sometimes the hackers get personal.

Johnson said one hacker found photos of a client’s daughter and other information on Facebook. The hacker then used that photo to threaten her harm if the client didn’t comply with demands for money.

All devices that use wifi are vulnerable to hacks.

“Pacemakers connect now using wifi,” Johnson said. “A hacker could take people out.”

Johnson said when most people think of data hacks or breaches, they think Equifax and Yahoo.

“There are many more (you don’t hear about), ” Johnson said. “You know a hack can ruin a small business.”

Johnson said keeping your network and data safe takes diligence.

“We have to be right 100 percent of the time,” Johnson said. “Hackers only have to be right once.”

The EDTS and EDTS Cyber office is located at 100 Bull St., Suite 200, Savannah. The office can be reached by calling 912-421-7700. Website is edtscyber.com.

Staff at EDTS and EDTS Cyber have multiple certifications, including ethical hacking and, forensics, health care systems and the National Security Agency standards for security. The company has also been named for eight years to Inc. magazine’s Inc. 5000. The designation represents the fastest growing private companies in the U.S. They have also been named to CRN’s MSP 500:Elite 150. According to CRN the list “recognizes the top technology providers and consultants in North America whose cutting-edge approach to managed services puts end-user customers in the best position to improve efficiencies, cut costs and speed time to market for their own products and services.”

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