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September 25, 2014

Black River Produce Co-Founder Mark Curran Honored for Good Business Practices

Filed under: SRDC — admin @ 3:18 pm

On Tuesday, September 9th, nearly 150 members and friends of Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility (VBSR) came to Shelburne Farms for an event in honor of Mark Curran, Co-founder of Black River Produce and winner of the 2014 VBSR Terry Ehrich Award for Excellence in Socially Responsible Business. The sold-out dinner and award ceremony was a celebration of local food, relationships, and socially responsible business practices.

““We were thrilled to be able to honor Mark this with award”,” noted VBSR Executive Director Andrea Cohen. Named for the late owner of Hemming’s Motor News and a founding member of VBSR, the award is given to a VBSR member who best exemplifies Terry Ehrich’’s commitment to the environment, workplace, progressive public policy and community. “”Mark, and his business partner Steve Birge, have worked hard to grow Black River Produce in a sustainable way. They have been instrumental in supporting our local food movement and have taken a number of steps to reduce their carbon footprint and increase their energy efficiency while growing quality jobs in our state.”

Chuck Ross, Secretary of Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets opened the award ceremony by discussing the importance of Vermont’s local food economy while highlighting how much Black River Produce has done to further that mission. After glowing remarks from VBSR Board Vice Chair, Chris Miller of Ben & Jerry’s, Mark spent a few minutes discussing how his upbringing shaped him into the business person he’d become. Curran explored how far his company has come (opening a new meat processing facility), how they had grown sustainably (reinvesting in the company), and how they practice social responsibility (supporting local farmers, utilizing renewable energy and biodiesel trucks). Curran also took time during his address to thank and highlight the leadership and vision of his business partner Steve Birge. Attendees expressed their appreciation of the moment by honoring both Mark and Steve with a standing ovation.

(Photo courtesy of Tasha Wallis)

September 11, 2014

Public officials, business leaders and cybersecurity experts gather at Norwich on 9/22 with FTC Commissioner Julie Brill as the featured speaker

Filed under: SRDC — admin @ 9:17 am

The National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA), a non-profit public-private partnership focused on helping all digital citizens stay safer and more secure online, is coming to Vermont with its STOP. THINK. CONNECT. Two Steps Ahead: Protect Your Digital Life Tour to educate consumers and businesses about adding layers of security to their everyday online activities.

The event being held on September 22nd from 9-11am at Norwich University’s Milano Ballroom is part of a ten-city tour to spread the word about activating security features available on many of the web’s most popular sites. Commissioner Brill will open the event with remarks, and the morning will feature a hands-on demonstration showing attendees how to step up their security on sites like Google, Facebook, Microsoft, LinkedIn. The event also includes a panel discussion with representatives from the Better Business Bureau Serving Eastern MA, ME, RI & VT, FBI and Norwich University.  Concluding the event will be a live demonstration by students in the Center for Advanced Computing and Digital Forensics at Norwich University.

Recent publicized data breaches in the retail and other sectors and the Heartbleed open SSL vulnerability have shed the light once again on account security when passwords and other account credentials are lost.

Lack of consumer adoption of good password practices continues to create problems as well, as evidenced by the fact that “123456” and “password” have long been the top passwords in use. A Pew Research Center study indicated that last year 21% of Internet users (18 years and older) have had an online account compromised, such as a social networking account or an email account, and only 23% think their accounts are very secure.

The good news is more and more Internet sites are implementing additional security features that can help computer users add another layer of security to their accounts. These features go by many names – such as two-step verification, login approvals, and multi-factor authentication – and use a variety of methods, including SMS texts to a mobile device, or random one-time use password generators, but the goal is the same, allowing only authorized people to access an account.

Consumers still need to be vigilant about using strong passwords, because they are not going away anytime soon.  Users should follow the basic security advice to have long, strong and unique passwords.

“Making use of available security precautions like the emerging account security tools, where available, should be a starting point for staying safe online,” said Michael Kaiser executive director of the National Cyber Security Alliance. “Utilizing all available security measures and understanding the consequences of actions and behaviors online is the key message underlying the STOP. THINK. CONNECT. campaign.”

“The recent string of security breaches, which involve the release of sensitive information on a massive scale, illustrates why data security is a consumer protection priority for the FTC.  Our enforcement actions hold companies accountable for providing reasonable security.  We also work hard to educate companies and consumers about how they can protect consumer data. I am looking forward to discussing these efforts on September 22,” said FTC Commissioner Julie Brill.

The event will run from 9-11am and registration is open to the public free, but space is limited.

“We want to thank all our partners who are helping to make the event at Norwich a success,” Kaiser said.  The RDC’s of Vermont are one of the organizations that are sponsoring this event.

To register visit: https://twostepsvermont.eventbrite.com

To learn more about staying safe online and to find links to websites that offer additional account security visit: www.stopthinkconnect.org/twostepsahead.