Belfast Telegraph

Staying safe from threat of cyber-criminals

By Peter Russell, general manager of BT Business in Northern Ireland

The 21st century has witnessed an emerging threat from profit-orientated and highly organised cyber-criminal enterprises.

With cyber-crime continuing to escalate, a new approach to digital risk is crucial. Businesses need to not only defend against cyber-attacks, but also disrupt the criminal organisations that launch these attacks.

At BT, as a leading multinational company at the forefront of technological innovations, we have invested heavily in obtaining and developing the necessary employee skillsets and technology to tackle this growing digital risk for our customers.

This is a vital component in securing our customers against increasingly sophisticated criminal gangs, who are supported by a developed and rapidly evolving black market.

Risks to both large and small businesses across Northern Ireland are evident in a variety of forms.

This includes various types of malware or phishing attacks, high-end targeted assaults on finance systems, as well as more regular attacks on business information and on high net worth individuals within organisations. Criminal attacks are often used with the intent of fraud, extortion or theft of hard intellectual property.

BT recently conducted research and released a cutting edge report into cyber-crime, which illustrated that a change in mindset needs to be adopted by business in order to fight the growing threat of cyber-crime.

The report, Taking the Offensive — Working Together to disrupt digital crime, highlighted that only a fifth of IT decision-makers in large corporations are confident that their organisation is fully prepared against the threat of cyber-criminals.

The majority of companies feel constrained by regulation, available resources and a dependence on third parties when responding to attacks.

In addition to this, BT research found that 94% of IT decision- makers are aware that criminal entrepreneurs are blackmailing and bribing employees to gain access to organisations, with roughly half of business leaders admitting that they don’t have a strategy in place to prevent it.

However, our research did identify that businesses are starting to re-examine security roles and putting an emphasis on specific members of staff to take accountability for this growing threat.

With 26% of chief digital risk officers now being appointed to hold strategic roles, which combine digital expertise and high level management skills, this is a positive step forward but an area that businesses certainly need to address further.

In order to tackle the growing cyber risk, it is also of paramount importance that decision-makers in companies readjust their budgets to create a separate security budget in order to defend their companies from the increasing digital threat.

For instance, our report showed that 60% of decision-makers surveyed revealed that their organisation’s cyber security is currently financed by the central IT budget, while half of those (50%) think it should come from a separate security budget.

As a trusted service provider and advisor to private and public sector businesses across Northern Ireland, BT’s local specialist in-house solutions design team works in conjunction with external experts to develop and provide advice as well as a whole portfolio of security compliant solutions, with a bespoke offering, to look after and manage cyber security risks for our customers.

Therefore, this service ensures that BT offers our customers’ peace of mind for their business security, safeguarding against potential cyber threats, by providing fully managed service solutions for CEOs, CFOs and CIOs in SMEs and larger corporate entities.

At BT, we also have a ringside view of what is going on in cyberspace as a result of our work across global networks and we are using these capabilities and knowledge to our advantage.

This expertise can identify the latest cyber security threats before they reach our local marketplace and this allows us to create credible attack scenarios in order to react and respond appropriately and proportionally to a variety of cyber threats for our customers.

Therefore, at BT we now have the opportunity to stay one step ahead of cyber-criminals and to offer our expertise to local companies.

Belfast Telegraph Digital


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