Stay Cyber Security Aware!

Business Insights

As the pace of digital transformation steps up, the role of digital technologies – and the ways in which we use them in our personal lives, work and society – is changing the face of businesses and organisations across the board.

Covering a huge number of processes, interactions, transactions, technological evolutions, changes, internal and external factors, industries and sectors digital transformation is quite literally reshaping our world. A key factor across all sectors in the midst of this exciting revolution is cyber security, as business of all sizes, their logistic chains and automotive processes become ever more automated, the possible effects of a cyber breach can be catastrophic. Such possibilities don’t just affect businesses; hospitals, local authorities and our security services are all becoming ever more reliant on AI.

Envision a local authority which harnesses the benefits of automation to control its water supplies, then envision the disruptive effects a hacker could wreak. If we are to fully embrace the potential that digital transformation offers it is important to make sure that we use the right equipment and procedures, after all much of the widely publicised difficulties experienced by the NHS a while back were put down to out of date equipment that hadn’t had security patches regularly applied and casual user errors which enabled hackers to gain admittance.

The Covid crisis has brought heightened awareness of cyber security as hackers exploit weaknesses in employees’ home set ups. Many folk are still using Windows7 on their domestic equipment even though it is no longer supported and malicious operators are taking full advantage of any gaps in their protection.

Security concerns hit the headlines with alarming regularity; most recently the Russian security services are thought to have tried to influence the outcome of the Brexit referendum, our general election and the American election, indeed state-sponsored cyber interventions are occurring at the highest level across western countries, in the US, Germany, France and in the UK.

Such interventions may seem to most of us a long way from our day to day business activities, indeed a commonly cited response is: “Oh no-one would be interested in us, we are too small.” Nevertheless, the amount of damage than can be wrought by a cyber breach to any size of business, its reputation and processes, cannot be underestimated. Under GDPR there are stiff penalties for companies that don’t handle sensitive personal data securely, and business should by now have procedures in place to comply with the new regulations.

So just as employees will need to be trained in AI to operate and programme the robots and complex automated processes that organisations will be importing to improve their efficiency in order to utilise the many benefits of digitisation, a programme of cyber security training and GDPR compliance must go hand in hand if companies are to get the most from their investment.

Under GDPR there are stiff penalties for companies that don’t handle sensitive personal data securely, and businesses will by now have procedures and new training protocols already in place to comply with the new regulations.

While it isn’t possible to guard against the most sophisticated attacks it is well known that the majority of cyber breaches are caused by simple user error, such as clicking on a dodgy site, rather than any malicious direct attack. Staff must be trained not to open unsolicited e-mails with suspicious seeming addresses, and not to send out information or to pay bills without already having such a payment authorised.

It has been rightly said that wherever there is a key stroke there is the possibility of error, and the more complex the programme the greater the scope for error.

The government’s Cyber Essentials initiative is good place to start any new cyber security training programme. The scheme is a Government-backed, industry-supported scheme to help organisations protect themselves against common online threats. The scheme enables organisations to gain one of two Cyber Essentials badges. It is backed by industry including the Federation of Small Businesses, the CBI and a number of insurance organisations which are offering incentives for businesses, and is suitable for all organisations, of any size, in any sector.

For more advanced training for your team, speak to a cyber security training specialist who will put together a training scheme tailored to your requirements.