For more than 12 years, the Chamber’s Board of Directors has been grateful to our President and CEO, Tracy Mulqueen, for so skillfully and tirelessly building our organization into one of the most effective and highly regarded business advocacy and service organizations in the region. Now it is with great joy for her, but with sadness in our hearts, that I announce that Tracy has accepted a fantastic opportunity to head up a national association and will be leaving the Chamber on April 17, 2017. While our Board of Directors, staff, members, and partners would love for Tracy to remain in her current leadership role, we are thrilled for her as she moves to this next challenge.
We also deeply appreciate that Tracy has worked with the Board to recruit and prepare the Chamber’s previous Economic Development Director, Valentina Tomov, to step in as our new President and CEO on April 18, 2017, when she returns from completing her doctoral work in Bulgaria. We are fortunate that this very talented professional will soon lead us in our work ahead on behalf of businesses.
I hope you will join us this Monday morning, March 20, 2017 for the Chamber’s Annual Meeting and Awards Breakfast, which will be a very special event this year. A buffet breakfast will run from 7:00 to 7:45 a.m. with the program following from 7:45 to 9:00 a.m. In addition to a fantastic keynote presentation by Chamberlain CEO JoAnna Sohovich and an innovative new business awards ceremony, we will say goodbye to Tracy and review the tremendous success local businesses have experienced during her tenure. We will also take a look at all the great things ahead for our local business community.
Thank you for your commitment to the Chamber and Tracy Mulqueen and we look forward to working with you to welcome and support our new incoming CEO, Valentina Tomov.
It has been an honor to serve as the President and CEO of this organization and to work with such a remarkable Board of Directors and professional staff, members, and partners. While I am excited about this new opportunity, I am going to miss everyone very much.
It is a real pleasure, though, to know that Valentina Tomov – a strong, smart and experienced leader – will be stepping into this spot as I leave. Many of you had the privilege of working with Valentina when she served for two years as the Chamber’s Economic Development Director. As you know, she excelled at working with our board, commercial real estate community, government partners, and members to achieve tremendous and challenging goals on behalf of businesses. I know that going forward you will see Valentina take the Chamber to extraordinary new levels of growth. You will love working with her.
Please know that I truly appreciate everything that all of you have done to support me as I have served the Chamber and I will always be grateful for this extraordinary professional experience.
The “right” answer is no, you shouldn’t pay the ransom. This is similar to the stance the government takes when dealing with hostages. In principle, not paying ransom diffuses the whole process – the bad guys don’t get funded and the effort is for nothing.
Consider this – I just read an article by Armor, Ransomware as a Service fuels explosive growth that said the average ransomware demand is about $679. Depending on the size of the company, downtime, and number of employees affected, recovering from a ransomware attack could easily take a day. We need to ask ourselves, does the cost in time, effort, loss of productivity, and possible loss of work for a day exceed the ransom demand? At a low, low price of $679, it may be a no-brainer.
While it is great to take a stand and not let the hackers get away with this, it is ultimately a business decision – one that may make sense.
Depending upon the ransom demand, the decision to give it a try may be relatively simple, but you must decide whether the roll of the dice is worth it.
I’m willing to bet they will give up the key. Why? Because if hackers get a reputation for not producing the key, guess what – nobody is going to pay the ransom demand and the hackers aren’t going to make any money. They want to keep this party going for as long as possible!
In short, you need to make a business decision. If the dollar figure is small enough, pay the demand, chock it up to payment for lesson learned, and tighten up the security in your organization. The amount of money required to restore operations and the cost of downtime may easily usurp the dollar figure for the ransom.
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