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Time to cut through the ‘noise’ of cyber crime, security experts say

Speakers at the upcoming 23rd World Conference on Disaster Management (WCDM) in Toronto are calling on companies of all sizes to renew their focus on cyber security in a pragmatic way.


May 9, 2013  


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Speakers at the upcoming 23rd World Conference on Disaster Management (WCDM) in Toronto are calling on companies of all sizes to renew their focus on cyber security in a pragmatic way.

“Everyone’s chatting about cyber security and it’s creating confusion in the marketplace, making it difficult for businesses to pinpoint what’s important,” says John Weigelt, national technology officer at Microsoft Canada, a WCDM keynote speaker and cyber security panel participant.

WCDM, which will take place at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre June 23-26, brings together leading Canadian and international speakers, representing all areas of disaster management, to provide solutions on how businesses, communities and government can prepare for emergencies, and adapt to global and local threats.

“The reality is you can go a long way towards protecting yourself and your business by putting some pretty basic ‘data hygiene’ practices in place and by educating your workforce,” said Weigelt, adding that even small businesses should take these steps. “It’s a matter of removing the noise to focus on the particular challenges that pertain to you.”

Despite sensational headlines, guarding against cyber crime has little to do with fear mongering, he says. “I really try to avoid scaring people because I find fear is a poor motivator — opportunity is a better one,” says Weigelt, whose 20-year career in cyber security includes high profile policy roles in the Government of Canada. “The call to action is: Let’s do the routine hygiene properly because there’s business value in doing so. Customers will leave your company in droves if they feel that your privacy and security policies are not up to snuff.”

According to an annual Cyber Security Survey from consulting firm Deloitte, three cyber security threats that should be on the radar of any business today include the growing number of employee-owned mobile devices which are often difficult to secure; acts of hacktivism — attacks by activists or adversaries who target specific computer networks; and third-party breaches by partners or suppliers

Vicki Gavin, head of business continuity and information security at The Economist, a London-based international news conglomerate, agrees that preparing for cyber attack does not have to be complicated.

At WCDM, she will present a model for designing employee crisis exercises based on a comprehensive security initiative she is currently leading across her own organization. The past year, Gavin has visited all 1,400 employees, presenting mock scenarios and helping them to walk through the correct response and prevent similar incidents from happening in the first place.

“What we’re doing is making sure that every single person in our organization understands that the key to security is them,” says Gavin, who credits the senior executive team at The Economist for understanding the very real threat that cyber crime presents, and putting resources in place to prepare for it.

 “It sounds simplistic, but the reality is the vast majority of cyber criminals get into an organization through one person. If I can make sure that every single person is aware of what might happen and is being vigilant, then the chances of us finding that cyber criminal before they do damage go way up.”

For more information or to register for the event visit www.wcdm.org.