A New Approach to Cyber Risk is Crucial

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Article by Nick Speed – BT Group Director in Wales

The coronavirus pandemic has fundamentally changed the way we all use technology and how we do business, with an acceleration towards home working.

As a major investor and employer in Wales – employing more than 4,400 people and contributing almost £1bn in economic impact – BT Group is working hard to help keep Wales and the rest of the UK up and running during this difficult time.

From providing the network resilience to enable the nation to stay connected, to working with governments and public sector organisations to enable emergency responses, we are also committed to making sure that our business customers have the security solutions and knowledge necessary to stay safe online.

With many SMEs and larger businesses having to adapt their business models to working remotely, this can pose not only connectivity and operational challenges, but also security considerations in response to the ever growing threat from profit-orientated and highly organised cybercriminal enterprises.

We are currently protecting our network against more than 4,000 cyber-attacks every day, and there has been a spike in extra activity in recent weeks.

With cybercrime continuing to escalate, a new approach to digital risk is crucial. Businesses need to not only defend against cyberattacks in this ‘new normal’, but also disrupt the criminal organisations that launch these attacks.

Companies need to help their employees to understand the potential risks. Security solutions that apply detailed controls on what apps and data users can access – based on who they are, where they are, and what device they’re using – could make all the difference to an organisation’s future, as hackers and scammers look to exploit these new ways of working.

BT is at the forefront of driving technology change and securing the UK’s digital infrastructure. We invested more than £600m in research and innovation last year, and we have around 3,000 cyber experts focussed on protecting BT’s networks and those of our customers. This plays an essential role in securing our business against increasingly sophisticated criminal gangs, who are supported by a highly developed and rapidly evolving black market.

Risks to both large and small businesses across Wales can be seen 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.

As a trusted service provider and advisor to private and public sector businesses across Wales, BT’s specialist teams – including a dedicated team of cyber experts working in Wales – work in conjunction with external experts to develop and provide advice. They provide a range of security solutions to look after and manage cyber security risks for all our customers.

As a result of our work across global networks, we also have a ringside view of the latest attacks across cyberspace, and we’re using these capabilities and knowledge to help protect our customers. Our expertise can identify and stop the latest cyber security threats before they reach us, and we offer the same unique expertise to our customers.

More than ever, cyber security needs to become a focus for all of us and our businesses. It’s essential that companies adopt a change in mindset and look at security not simply as a defence exercise, but as a means of innovating digitally and, ultimately, growing.