Trends in Cybersecurity Featured at William Blair Client Event in Baltimore

Friday, November 22, 2019

William Blair's Baltimore team

William Blair's wealth management team in Baltimore hosted a presentation on today's cybersecurity landscape.

William Blair's Private Wealth Management team in Baltimore hosted a client event on November 14 that featured a talk on cybersecurity and related technologies.

Jonathan Ho, a partner of the firm and research analyst covering cybersecurity companies, told the crowd that all organizations—small, medium and large—are at risk of cyberattacks. With the expansion of the internet over the past 5 to 10 years, cybercriminals have become more sophisticated in stealing personal information and nation states are increasingly engaged in cyber warfare.

"From my perspective, this is going to be the largest fundamental challenge of our age," Ho said.

One of the largest security breaches was Equifax in 2017 when the personal information of some 150 million Americans, half the population, was compromised.

"What was particularly damaging about the Equifax attack was they took private data—credit history, information to generate a credit report, data used to identify you," Ho said.  

Over the past year there has been a rise in ransomware attacks, he added. Cybercriminals trick you into opening an email with embedded malware. It then takes over your computer—the keyboard locks, everything freezes—and the only way to get access to your files again is paying a ransom.

He cited several measures to help limit one's cyber exposure: Be watchful of email threats like phishing; use strong passwords including two-factor authentication; practice savvy social media skills, noting 42% of today's breaches stem from social engineering attacks. Attackers can leverage personal information shared on social media—birthdays, names of kids, mother's maiden name, and so on to figure out passwords.

Ho suggested using a segmented network called "air gapping," which can be used on one or more computers. It provides different security bands so you can separate your email, internet use, and online financial transactions. Ho also noted that cybersecurity companies, Tenable and Proofpoint to name a couple, are continually developing and employing new technologies to combat attacks.

Baltimore team joins William Blair

William Blair's wealth management team in Baltimore hosted the event. In January 2019, the firm expanded its private wealth management capabilities in the Mid-Atlantic area opening a new office in Baltimore, a city known for its leadership in financial services. The Baltimore team manages more than $3 billion in client assets. 

"We were lucky to find this wonderful team who had the ethos and experience to lead us in an important financial market like Baltimore," Ryan DeVore, global head of William Blair's private wealth group, told the crowd during his opening remarks. "The team mirrors our firm's continued intention to empower colleagues, deliver client success, and engage in our communities."

William Blair, an 85-year-old private partnership based in Chicago, has expanded its private wealth management business in recent years by adding wealth management teams in Chicago, Atlanta, Boston, New York, San Francisco, as well as Baltimore.

The firm's expansion has been built on client relationships and the research of William Blair's award-winning analysts who follow nearly 600 quality growth companies.

William Blair's latest guide on cybersecurity now available

Cybersecurity: A Self-Defense Guide

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