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Tackling the cyber threat

By Dan Teuton
27 August 2019

Some of the top cyber security companies in the South Central region will be exhibiting at the inaugural Business Innovation South (BIS) expo at Chilworth Manor near Southampton on September 12. We spoke to them about the online challenges companies are facing

Cyber security has never been more important for businesses with commerce increasingly being conducted online and more information than ever being stored about us.

A recent report by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) found that businesses were being subjected to almost 10,000 cyber attacks a day with an annual cost estimated at £4.5 billion.

High-profile breaches hit the headlines on a regular basis and the penalties for not storing customer data safely are sky-rocketing.

Some of the top companies tackling cyber security in the South Central region will be exhibiting at the forthcoming Business Innovation South (BIS) expo at Chilworth Manor hotel near Southampton on September 12 and organiser Lara Bull believes it is the perfect opportunity for business leaders to learn more about protecting their businesses.

Bull said: “In a world where technology, products/services and threats to our business are changing at such a fast rate each year, many businesses know they will face a variety of challenges but with so many of us time poor, they struggle to keep abreast of the latest technology and products to help drive their business whilst protecting and future proofing.   

“#BIS2019 aims to dovetail the needs of both the exhibitor and the visitor perfectly. In bringing together exhibitors from a broad spectrum of sectors/industries, we will enable the visitor to address multiple challenges and business needs in one day.”

The recent Cyber Security Breaches Survey 2019 published by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport made interesting reading and highlighted key areas for concern. 

The survey found that cyber attacks are a persistent threat to businesses and charities.

Among the 32% of businesses and 22% of charities facing breaches or attacks, the most common types are:

phishing attacks (identified by 80% of these businesses and 81% of these charities)

others impersonating an organisation in emails or online (28% of these businesses and 20% of these charities)

viruses, spyware or malware, including ransomware attacks (27% of these businesses and 18% of these charities).

Email is the world’s most common form of business to consumer communication, and yet, it is inherently unsecure with numerous examples of fraud and financial/reputational loss, said Paul Holland, CEO at Fareham-based Beyond Encryption.

“Our identities and personal data are amongst our most valuable assets, so sending confidential and sensitive data via normal unsecure email may leave us open to the ever increasing threat of cybercrime,” he said.

Beyond encryption’s secure email solution is market leading, allowing the sender to simply but securely communicate with anyone, ensure that they are the intended recipient, and allow them to reply in the same secure manner, all using the senders existing systems and email addresses, and all carrying the sender’s own branding.

Holland explained: “Encrypting your communication is only part of the solution as encryption alone cannot prove that a message has been delivered to, and opened by, the intended party and only the intended party – how many of us have inadvertently sent an email to the wrong person.

“The wrong person receiving someone else’s personal data can be as damaging as it being intercepted by an online cybercriminal.”

One in four small businesses can expect to suffer a cyber attack this year, warns Custodian 360.

Cybercriminals are increasingly targeting all shapes and sizes of business worldwide and the growth in virus attacks on businesses is shocking, said the Reading-based company.

They specialise in antivirus and ransomware protection for businesses, offering state of the art monitoring and fortification solutions.

And Graeme McGowan, director cyber and security risk, Optimal Risk Group and senior tutor/CISO, The Global Cyber Academy, wants businesses to be more aware of the potential threat from smartphones.

Recent research tells us that some 68% of information systems workers are using their own smart phones, and 69 % are bringing their own tablets to work.

Top mobile threats include enterprise-class spyware and malware, including zero-day exploits that we don’t yet know about.

McGowan said: “Apps shouldn’t be treated as a permanent fixture on your phone. Review your apps each week and delete the ones you don’t use or read bad things about. Err on the side of caution.”