MBA: Gavin Richardson, Managing Director of Mortgages for Business


Cyber ​​risks are among the worst perils businesses face, according to Allianz’s list of global business threats released this year. Attacks are increasing, they are becoming more sophisticated and the cost of insurance is increasing.

Although cyberattacks come from the shadows, you hear about them everywhere. For example, Toyota had to halt production at all of its factories in Japan after a supplier was hit by a cyberattack – a move that cost the company 13,000 new cars.

I became more and more aware of the risk of not having the right people on file

Last February, the Financial Conduct Authority wrote to financial firms asking them to strengthen their cybersecurity systems.

Cybercriminals use trust tricks designed to trick employees into handing over passwords or other sensitive information via phishing emails (these are supposed to be sent by the IT department, for example).

Britain is numerically advanced, so there are more opportunities for sophisticated flight. And, when the teams were out of the office because of the Covid, these threats became more dangerous. With the country’s commitment to reducing the carbon footprint of our travels and working from home, the threats remain.

Wrong wrong

It’s about to get worse, actually. Deepfakes – synthetically generated content used for illicit purposes – are always a concern.

In the United States, the Federal Bureau of Investigation has warned that attackers will “almost certainly” begin using deepfakes to attack businesses, using computerized audio spoofing programs to trick institutions into transferring dozens of millions of dollars in the hands of criminals. No wonder NatWest spends more on benchmarking, anticipating and reimbursing cyber fraud than it does on its branch network.

We have outsourced our cyber function to a third party organization; this means the service is 24/7

I am not a naive technophobe. Likewise, I didn’t think cyber threats would be so great here in West Malling. They’re more of a challenge than I anticipated, though – we’re under constant attack.

Along with learning more about existing threats, I became increasingly aware of the risk of not having the right people on the case. The pandemic has been a wake-up call. There is a business risk in having unoccupied cyber roles.

How to meet the challenge?

Our IT department is dedicated to updating our systems to keep up with evolving threats. In addition to ensuring we have a full IT staff with the appropriate headcount, we stage fake phishing attacks and target our own staff. This helps to keep everyone alert and raise company awareness. And we have integrated cyberattacks into our business continuity plans.

When teams were out of the office due to Covid, these threats became more dangerous

We have also outsourced our cyber function to a third party organization; this means that the internal role is never vacant and the service is 24/7.

There’s more to it than I expected, and I can see why cybersecurity giant Darktrace is looking to such a bright future.

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