President and CEO
Location: Denver, CO
Industry: Real Estate Settlement Services
*Second Year Honoree*
Canyon Title was hit with a crippling cyber attack in 2021, and the quick thinking and flexibility it took to combat and emerge from it tells you all you need to know about Robert Lindley’s leadership acumen.
The ransomware attack — threatening to shut down all systems and publish data on the dark web unless a ransom is paid — hit Canyon Title’s third-party hosting provider and stretched into 1,000 companies and thousands of users. At Canyon Title, the virus infected “production software, document access, email, calendars, phones, customer lists, literally all communications and systems, everything,” said Lindley, the president and CEO.
Lindley, who has led Canyon Title since 2006, credited the culture of the company for helping the business emerge from the crisis two weeks later as a savvier operation.
“We all know stories of staff paralyzed by their inability to act without constant direction from one leader,” Lindley said. “I am proud to say that I have cultivated many leaders within our organization who can take rapid, responsible action in a crisis. As I managed overarching technological decisions that had to be made quickly, the team made sure our business and relationships could survive it all.
“I have found that people think a company’s financial stability is the most important thing, but a company’s agility is much more crucial to long-term success and stamina. Financial stability is great, but no match for a ransomware attack. I am most proud of our ability to face and slay this crisis.”
Lindley said he learned a number of lessons from the cyber attack, lessons that reassured him that he and his team can work through a crisis. But he also reevaluated the importance of disaster planning and how people and systems are of equal importance.
“I realized that as a former rock climber, I had the tools within me to get through our crisis, successfully,” he said “I learned that my assessment skills saved time and led to quick decisions while under extreme pressure from regulators and large national banks that had a right to know if their customers data had been compromised. I learned the importance of preparedness. Believe this: If you don’t have a plan for business continuity and disaster recovery, you don’t have a comprehensive business plan.
“Finally, I used to think everything will be all right, but I no longer believe that. I believe you must continually plan for it not to be and because of that, you must be able to visualize what a complete failure looks like to create a strategy to protect against it.”
With the cyber attack now in the past, Canyon Title has big plans for the future. The company has expanded beyond Colorado, with new offices in Arizona. Its growth plan includes adding property and casualty insurance offerings in addition to title insurance. The company has a goal to reach $30 million this year.
Lindley was named a titan for the first time in 2021. He takes his role as an industry leader seriously and works to mentor others wherever he can. “My goal is to help create as many millionaires and leaders as we can, who will enjoy a happy balance in work and life,” Lindley said.
"I am proud to say that I have cultivated many leaders within our organization who can take rapid, responsible action in a crisis."