Confronting the Challenges of Cybersecurity

Today’s cyber-attacks are becoming more and more destructive, disrupting daily business and destroying the reputations of leading brands. Where once hackers would steal data in a “smash and grab” attack, we are now seeing them sit and extort critical information from servers, sometimes for months. This is hugely damaging to any business as consumer confidence takes a massive blow.

On 30 November, Arkphire hosted a Cybersecurity CIO Roundtable at the Royal College of Physicians, in which keynote expert speakers from Oxford Solutions, Cisco and Arkphire engaged with an audience of senior IT leaders from across multiple industries, to discuss the key burning topics related to best IT security practice when it comes to protecting organisations.

The first guest speaker was John Schlager, Co-Founder and Chief Cyber Strategist at Oxford Solutions, whose presentation was titled ‘Arming an Organisation for Cyber Warfare’.  John highlighted some key characteristics of today’s cyber landscape, where we now live in a world where there are more Internet users, more data, more smartphone connections, more network traffic and more connected devices.  Citing some interesting statistics, John noted that we are set to have a global shortage of up to two million cybersecurity professionals by 2019.  Six out of 10 leaders do not believe their staff can handle anything beyond simple cybersecurity incidents.  And all the while, the volume and level of costs associated with security breaches are only increasing year on year.

John highlighted the plethora of complex issues that the CIO is facing on a daily basis but offered a re-assuring 9 step roadmap, as highlighted below, for what should be done to address their challenges.

  1. Assign responsibility for data protection
  2. Know what you are trying to protect
  3. Monitor your environment, collect and analyse logs
  4. Measure your risk against a framework
  5. Implement technology and processes to fill gaps
  6. Harden your systems
  7. Be prepared for a cyber incident
  8. Train your people to be security aware
  9. Build and maintain a strong vendor management programme

The CIO audience then heard from Tony Davitt, Cisco Security Solutions Architect who brought a further air of realism to the discussion when he said that no matter what you do, there is no silver bullet when it comes to achieving 100 per cent security.  His advice to businesses is to do what you can to make it harder to be a cybersecurity victim; prevent attack, stop it a system level and detect when it is present.

Organisations are in danger of falling into the security effectiveness gap, when the level of IT complexity in their organisation increases at a faster rate than the level of IT capabilities at their disposal.  To avoid this, Tony said the goal is to achieve effective security by aligning your capabilities for monitoring, detecting and resolving IT security issues with the level of IT complexity that the organisation is experiencing.

Concluding the informative CIO briefing session, Howard Roberts, Co-Founder and CTO at Arkphire provided his take on the concerns many of its customers are having to grapple with when it comes to addressing their cybersecurity issues. He emphasised that technology alone is not sufficient to keep an organisation protected.  Companies need to integrate people, process and technology into a customised, simplified solution, in order to reduce risk, combat cyber threats, as well as fulfilling compliance requirements. 

Arkphire is currently building out its security offering and is expected to announce a number of strategic partnerships in the coming months that will help complete its overall portfolio already comprising IT Procurement, Managed IT Services and Supports, Network Management, Data Centre Infrastructure and Professional Services.

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