Experts from academia and industry shared knowledge about how to keep UK businesses safe from cyber threats at a Cyber-Security Challenge event held at Lancaster University recently.
According to a BBC news report last week, UK businesses lose around £21bn a year to cybercrime and cyber-attacks are becoming increasingly more sophisticated – and the government is issuing advice to British business leaders on how to protect themselves from cyber threats.
More than 85 delegates attended the cyber-security conference ‘protecting your business in an insecure world’ which set out to raise awareness of potential threats and help businesses make informed choices about how they protect themselves.
Security Lancaster and InfoLab21 Lancaster University's Information Communications Technologies Centre of Excellence hosted the event in partnership with the ICT Knowledge Transfer Network (ICT TKN).
According to speakers at the conference some of the top threats to a business include:
- data loss - whether it is your own data, or your customers’, the repercussions can be far reaching
- new technology – be aware that people will not always use new technology for the purposes the designer intended
- internal threats – not all cyber security attacks come from outside a business. Ex-employees or those suspended from duties can pose a real security risk if they are not managed quickly and effectively
- mobile computing – data is increasingly likely to be stored on mobile devices from laptops to mobile phones rather than in an office on a desktop computer
- social networking – many businesses depend upon it. However, with all these benefits come risks, as first-generation security solutions are failing to stop the invasion of new and sophisticated threats
“Cyber security is not a bolt on to businesses but an important part of it," argues Dr Daniel Prince, Associate Director of Security Lancaster and Partnerships Manager, "which should be embedded into your business model and business processes.”
“It is a very difficult financial climate for SMEs in the UK, and they need to counter cyber threat to ensure they operate at maximum effectiveness and retain valuable intellectual property and assets," added Tony Dyhouse from the ICT KTN.
"At the same time, their need to focus on core business limits the resource they have to gain an understanding of the threat and how to protect themselves. This conference imparts such information with maximum effectiveness in the minimum time, providing recommendations from cyber experts on hand.”
The event was supported by InfoLab21 as one of a series of Northwest technology events as part of the InfoLab21 Strategic Technology Exploitation Programme (ISTEP), a Solutions for Business product which provides a range knowledge exchange activities to identify and support collaboration between Northwest Digital & Creative companies and the 270+ strong research community at InfoLab21.
Attendees were all also asked about what assistance they would find most useful to protect their organisation and the findings will be reviewed in detail in a subsequent workshop and publicised as a industry report later on this year.
• Catch the conference online. Videos of the presentations and interviews from CSC2012 are now online and can be viewed on the conference website and on YouTube. You can also have a look at the photographs on Flickr or on Facebook.