Philipa Jane Farley was delighted to represent Network Ireland as part of a panel discussion hosted by Yousef Hazimee, AIB Cyber Security Practice Manager.  Some of the Questions & Answers follow:

Q. Nicola mentioned several types of attack during her talk earlier this evening. What, in your opinion, is the biggest cyber threat to businesses in Ireland today and why?
A. Ransomware. If your security strategy is not robust and tested with a backup option to pay for support during the crisis (ie cyber insurance), the consequences can be devastating. Businesses shut down.

Q. If you had to give three tips for smaller businesses when they are considering how to protect against the attacks discussed, what would they be?
A. 1. Know your threat landscape. Be realistic.
2. Assess your assets and infrastructure for vulnerabilities. Be honest.
3. Assess your actual risk and plan to deal with your security gaps.

Q. How can small and medium sized businesses leverage their investment in security to provide a competitive advantage for their business?
A. Institute and embed repeatable processes such as vendor security audits, employee training and yearly audits instead of once off spends.

Q. For startups and small companies, what is the best way to instil a culture of security within the workforce, in particular given the multiple roles that employees fulfil.
A. You will have security champions that you haven’t found yet. They will support the cause. Together with them, strategically plan to embed appropriate security practices. Budget time and funds to support the plan.

Q. Depending on what survey results you use, women make up anywhere between 20%-25% of the cyber workforce globally. This is an improvement on previous years and women are actually entering the workforce better educated than men. How can the industry, particularly here in Ireland, continue to foster greater inclusion in the workforce?
A. Promote an understanding of the value of the profession with girls at school and break down the stereotypes.

Q. If everyone in the audience were to take away one thing from tonight’s event, what would you want that to be?
A. Do a brutally honest risk assessment on your business.

Read more about the event here: