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New security challenges…and how to fight them

When the global movers and shakers gathered at the World Economic Forum earlier this year, they got a short, sharp, shock — in the form of its Global Cybersecurity Outlook.

During the press conference, WEF Managing Director Jeremy Jurgens related that ‘93 percent of cyber leaders and 86% of cyber business leaders believe that a catastrophic cyber event is likely in the next two years.’

Jurgens was in part referring to malefactors like Russia and China making cyberwar on their enemies, whether real or perceived. But the threat is growing as well for businesses, big, small, and medium.

For example, recent ransomware attacks (criminals stealing data and then attempting to ‘ransom’ it) temporarily shut down Canada’s largest bookstore chain and the UK’s Royal Mail.

These organisations have impressive security budgets and all the latest security tools and tech. If they can be victimized, how can a mid-market business keep itself safe?

The answer is more straightforward than you may think: it’s expert leadership at the Board table.

As a CEO, you can’t be responsible for all the technical details. But you can, and must, be able to ask the right questions of the people responsible for security—and stay on top of them.

Most attacks use simple methods. The reason they’re successful is because companies have forgotten to get the basics right. So we urge you to ask your IT team or suppliers six simple questions:

    1. Who is accountable for our security and risk strategy?
    2. When was the last time we reviewed and tested our security?
    3. Are security systems up to date? How do we know they’re up to date?
    4. Do we have assessments or accreditations?
    5. Do staff—and that includes the CEO—get regularly trained in cybersecurity and social engineering? Have we ever tested that training?
    6. If we do end up in trouble, who’s in charge, and what’s the plan?

If your IT team can’t provide satisfying answers to all these questions, and quickly, then it may be time to consider IT leadership in the form of a fractional CIO, CTO, or CISO.

If you have any questions about cyber security or IT, feel free to get in touch. Unlike cyber criminals, we’re always up for a no-strings, no-pressure conversation.

For a more detailed guide to mailing down the basics, see our 13 key steps to cyber security, comprehensive list of questions for non-technical board leaders.

Also see our Cyber Security Knowledge Center, which includes more plain-English content related to this topic.


17 critical cyber security questions to ask your IT team

Suddenly the office is closed, and everyone’s working from home.

The IT team is coping, but you’ve got a nagging doubt about whether these hasty arrangements are secure. You ask the IT team a few questions about cybersecurity, but the answers seem to be in a different language!

Well, you should be concerned. Criminals are ramping up their activities, because systems are more vulnerable when people work from home.

But there’s no need for panic. Most cyberattacks are successful simply because basic steps haven’t been taken.

Here is a simple checklist to ask the person responsible for IT. The answers should all be YES!

Protect your data

1. Do we know for sure that our backups are actually working?
2. Does data stored on a home user’s hard drive get backed up?
3. Does our central data storage have versioning?
4. Have we got a Data Loss Prevention system running?

Protect your remote devices

5. Do we have multi-factor authentication set up for our systems?
6. Will our anti-virus, anti-malware and patching tools automatically update for home users?
7. Has everyone who’s working from home signed a communications and internet usage policy?
8. Have we given cyber security training to the team within the last six months?
9. Are our GDPR policies appropriate for people working remotely and at home?

To continue reading, download the article above.

Visit our Cyber Security and Hybrid Working & Post-Pandemic knowledge centres, which include more content related to these topics.


Here’s a brief video of one of our founders, Steve Clarke, explaining how the IR35 change is affecting small operators, interims and freelancers. Steve explains how our model is different and means we don’t have these tax issues.

How to avoid a CRM car crash

Any CEO knows that customer information is a very valuable asset. And how you manage customer relationships is vital. So of course you need to implement systems to help you standardise and manage this… But we see countless CRM projects that fail, systems that are mis-used, under-used, or never used at all.

So why is this the project that fails most often? Why do we meet so many CEOs who despair at their company’s attempts to make this work?

Why is this project the one most likely to end up as a car crash?

This CEO’s briefing explains what a CRM system is, why companies use them and presents 10 golden rules in avoiding a CRM project car crash!

Let’s start at the beginning…

What is a CRM system? Why do companies use them?

A CRM system generally aims to support all or part of the customer interaction. Typically the scope can include everything from prospecting, through the sales process, to ongoing support.

These days there are a host of small, low cost or free options for CRM, for example Really Simple Systems, Zoho or OnePageCRM. At the other end of the spectrum, most ERP products have their own CRM module like SAP and Oracle. There are products targeting digital marketing like Hubspot, and products targeting particularly industry types, like Bullhorn.

And of course, there are the “usual suspects”: Microsoft, Salesforce, Sage, Sugar CRM/Access.

These products and their heavily incentivised salesmen generally promise you the following:

• Standardise processes
• Support for complex marketing campaigns
• Bring all data into one secure place
• Improve reporting on different channels, products, markets and people
• Eliminate dependence on key individuals
• Allow customer-facing staff to be more focussed and responsive for customers
• Integrate different processes and systems to avoid rekeying, wasted effort and errors

So, just choose the best product. Sign here, sir. Prepare to be amazed!

Why does it all go wrong?

There are 2 fundamental reasons why CRM systems so often fail…

• People issues – systems are built by people and for people, and the most common cause of failure is also people. CRM systems have particularly difficult people challenges which need particular care.

• Complexity – a simple vision can gradually become complicated as the project progresses and this can lead to overruns, unresolved process or data issues, or a system that ends up difficult to use.

The 2 issues combine uniquely in CRM systems to form a toxic mix.

So, how does a heady brew become a poison pill?

What are the people issues?

Sales people are notorious for their thick-skin and focus. This is no accident as we often recruit them for these traits. We often want sales people to be single-minded, focussed on winning and many organisations forgive or even expect some selfishness. It’s part of the traditional sales culture. Observance of rules and process, attention to details and admin are not.

And, from the salesman’s point of view, the benefits of a CRM maybe for the rest of the organisation or for the management.

Often central administrative staff and management define the system in order that it collects data they want for reporting and analysis, but the burden of collecting this falls on front-line staff who see no benefit themselves.

Many users of the CRM system may be thinking: “There is no benefit for me in this CRM thing.” They may pretend to be onboard, but really they are not.

And where does the complexity come from?

There are 3 underlying sources of complexity

Firstly the scope of a CRM system may be very unclear and it’s very tempting for the scope to be expanded. Many CRM products are extremely flexible so (for a price!) they can be configured to support a huge range of activities across the business. They can manage workflow, provide a framework for task management, announcements and reminders, and they can integrate with other systems. The scope can expand to be
everyone and everything but all these features can be complicated and can get bogged down if multiple suppliers and internal experts are needed.

To continue reading, download the article above.

If you find this CEO’s briefing relevant, you might also find another recent article from one of our sister businesses of interest. The Marketing Director’s view on CRMs written by The Marketing Centre.


Learning from Travelex

Due to a cyberattack, Travelex, the world’s largest foreign exchange bureau, has been at a standstill for more than a fortnight. The reputational and financial impact on the company and its senior leaders will be severe. New laws and regulations, like GDPR and NY Shield, mean that such breaches can no longer be swept under the carpet, and the commercial damage will be compounded by huge fines.

Travelex is a wake-up call to all businesses. In today’s cyber-risk environment, maintenance of your basic IT infrastructure and services is critical to remaining profitable and even staying alive. You may be concerned that if a giant like Travelex gets hacked, how can a mid-market company protect itself? It’s less complicated than you might think.

When we engage with clients, we talk about ‘getting the basics right’. A fundamental part of that is making sure the IT infrastructure and services are fit-for-purpose and up to date. If the basics aren’t right, then there’s no hope of looking at ways to use technology to grow the business and get ahead of the competition.

To provide you with a head-start, here are your first nine priorities:

  1. Prioritise systems maintenance. All systems and services, particularly those that are connected to the outside world, must be kept up to date with the latest software patches. The IT team or your Service Provider must review and update systems in a regular, controlled manner.
  2. Review your backups. Many malware infections encrypt your data and hold it to ransom. Frequent backups mitigate the chance of you losing everything. A regular complete backup of data stored somewhere with no connection to your systems – what’s called an air-gap – will greatly limit the damage of an attack.
  3. Get a penetration test. Get a reputable security company to undertake an external penetration test of your systems and services. Resolve all the concerns raised in the results. Find your vulnerabilities and patch them before hackers find them for you!
  4. Earn a certification. Spend some money, usually less than £10k on earning the Cyber Essentials Plus certification. The process involves making your technology secure, and we’ve seen clients win new business after being certified.
  5. Lock down your data. Each individual in your business should only have access to the data they need to do their job. This minimises the risk of data loss should they leave with it or accidentally click a malware link. Allowing employees wide-ranging access to data is asking for trouble.
  6. Invest in protection. Keep the bad guys out with well-configured firewalls, anti-spam email systems, malware detection software, and pro-active Day-0 protection systems.
  7. Get some insurance. Cyber insurance covers the losses resulting from a cyberattack. It can also aid with the management of the incident itself, particularly reputational damage and regulatory enforcement. Crime insurance covers the loss of money due to theft, fraud or dishonesty and includes theft of money by hackers. Add these two insurances to your portfolio as separate policies, not just add-ons to existing business insurance.
  8. Train your staff. Your employees are the most vulnerable security point in your business. The more they know what to look for and what to do, the better your chances of avoiding an attack. Training is essential for all new starters, and it needs regular refreshing for the whole business – including you!
  9. Plan for the worst. Even with all the above nailed down, you still need to be ready for the worst. Sit down with your top team and discuss potential disasters and plan your way out of them. Who would be in charge? Who is authorised to make major decisions on the spot?

Will Travelex survive this attack? Who knows – the reputational and commercial damage may be terminal. But by following these nine steps, you can avoid that fate for your own company.

Also see our Cyber Security Knowledge Centre which includes more content related to this topic.

How to stop worrying about cyber security and compliance: Part II

This article is the second in our two-part report designed to provide busy CEOs with a template for mitigating the stresses and risks of cyber security and compliance. Here is part I if you missed it.

Previously we discussed why businesses often procrastinate when it comes to cyber security and regulatory compliance. Now it’s time to enumerate how you can mitigate the risks and sleep better at night.

  1. Make a Risks-and-Issues Analysis

Every substantial business should maintain a list of risks and issues, with some analysis of the mitigation options. The board should review this document at least annually, and each risk or issue must be owned by an executive with the expertise and time to manage it.

A certain level of risk is of course inevitable. But you need to know what you have, what’s valuable and what’s vulnerable. Documenting the risks, and having an open discussion about them, will drive sensible decisions about how to mitigate risk and take action when and if the worst happens.

Even better, it avoids sweeping issues under the carpet. Instead, you can confront the real business risks, identify a proportionate response, and ensure you are looking after the things that matter.

Proper backup plans, disaster recovery and crisis management plans will flow from these discussions.

  1. Sort Out Your Cyber Insurance

It’s prudent to consider cyber insurance. But not all cyber insurance is created equal. You need to carefully select an appropriate policy and provider.

The first thing to watch out for is if the provider takes the time to understand your risks and requirements. If they don’t, then they’re simply looking to sell you a policy, and you should walk away.

Next, check the exclusions on the policy. Make sure a member of your board understands the coverage – most importantly, if it covers ransomware payments, recovery costs, and loss-of-business. Remember that cyber insurance may not give you back money that’s stolen from you, that generally requires criminal insurance.

Also, you should learn how claims work with the insurer. If you have to make a claim, will the insurer specify who runs the recovery programme? If so, how quickly can this third party mobilise? If the insurer does not stipulate a third party, don’t wait for an incident to evaluate potential suppliers – identify the best one now.

Ensure that your IT is compliant with the policy. The insurer may impose requirements on your IT, and these requirements may be obscure and complicated. Often the CFO signs the insurance policy without communicating the requirements to the IT team. And the IT team may need to document how they meet the requirements so that the insurer can audit if necessary, otherwise your policy may be invalid!

Finally, are your suppliers’ contracts clear about their liability? And are they appropriately insured?

  1. Get Behavioural and Awareness Training

The weakest security link in any business is often the people. Some of your staff may struggle to understand the issues or to know what secure behaviours really are. You need to clarify your expectations.

Unfortunately, lots of companies have security protocols that no-one reads. Or perhaps people circumvent the rules with the tacit approval of their managers, who are busy and under pressure to deliver results. For example, if managers are writing passwords on Post-its, or accessing email from insecure home computers, then their subordinates will do the same.

Instead you’ll want to foster a culture of security. For example, is your finance manager empowered to challenge an email that looks like it’s from you calling for an “emergency payment?” How are suppliers’ bank details verified? Is your IT staff empowered to call out poor security practices from senior managers?

We recommend awareness training, which is relatively inexpensive – a few hundred or thousand pounds. A small price to pay compared to the expense of getting hacked!

  1. Get Cyber Essentials Plus

For most businesses there is a simple route to getting basic security right – certification from the government-sponsored scheme, Cyber Essentials Plus.

Specifically, this scheme identifies the basic technical measures to ensure your equipment is properly looked after, your network properly setup, and access properly controlled.

Most importantly, Cyber Essentials Plus requires all these things to be independently checked. Don’t ask your existing IT supplier to do it, get an independent assessor!

The total cost of this certification should be just a few thousand pounds and take a few weeks from start to finish.

We advocate that every mid-market business attains Cyber Essentials Plus. It certainly isn’t the whole answer, but it’s a big step forward for a lot of companies.

  1. Do a Penetration Test

A penetration test is when a third party looks for weaknesses in your website. Most companies can have a full, detailed penetration test for just a few thousand pounds.

This is essential if your website includes custom software or any kind of ecommerce services! Poor technical practices can result in custom software being full of holes. The OWASP top 10 is a list of the standard vulnerabilities that almost all hackers focus on – ensure your penetration test includes checks against this list.

Typically, penetration test findings are divided into high, medium and low priority. Address all high- and medium-priority issues immediately. Address low-priority issues on a case-by-case basis.

  1. Comply with GDPR

The General Data Protection Regulations came into force in Spring 2018 with much fanfare. Since then it’s all gone a bit quiet, and a lot of people are hoping it will go away entirely! But the rules are in force, with high penalties for breach.

The good news is that for the most part, the compliance measures are sensible and worthwhile. And most businesses can organise an expert assessment of their GDPR compliance for a few thousand pounds.

The recommendations can be complicated, and GDPR compliance can be a long process. So you’ll need to plan the work as a series of projects. Someone at board-level needs to have ownership of it, preferably someone both commercial and sensible in their approach.

GDPR compliance can be daunting. But you will make useful steps towards well-managed and well-organised back office systems. Consider it a useful tool quite apart from the legal requirements. In the end, your company will run more efficiently and make better use of its data, which is a valuable asset.

  1. Comply with ISO27001

ISO27001 is a more serious information security and management standard. Some companies have this standard imposed on them by corporate or government customers.

Either way, if your business is complex or has specific security requirements then ISO27001 provides you with a means to foster a culture of security. For example, if you manage sensitive data or valuable IP; if you want to demonstrate your credentials to demanding corporate clients; or if you plan for your business to offer important IT services, then ISO27001 gives you a means to embed security into every aspect of your business operations.

This is another standard that requires external assessment. Although it may only cost a few thousand pounds, implementing the necessary changes can be complicated and invasive. But that’s why companies brag about their ISO27001 accreditation — it’s a demanding standard and it means something.

Remember: Secure Companies Are More Efficient and Reliable

Let’s emphasize that the above steps are sensible. They will make your business more secure, so that you can your customers can sleep soundly. And in the event of a problem – because there are always problems – you will have mitigated the damage, and your business will recover more quickly, and you can avoid criticisms or accusations of negligence.

One final point: well-maintained systems and security practices will make your business far more effective, profitable and reliable.

Visit our Cyber Security and Compliance Knowledge Centre which includes all content related to this topic.

How to stop worrying about cyber security and compliance: Part I

This article is the first in our two-part report designed to provide busy CEOs with a template for mitigating the stresses and risks of cyber security and compliance.

It is not an exaggeration to say that most days we hear from companies who have been hacked. Their reputations are damaged, they’ve lost money, and they’re not sure what to do next.

Freeman Clarke CIOs, CTOs and IT Directors have deep experience in helping clients navigate these dangerous waters. But the uncertainty can begin much earlier: we’ve also seen how even the threat of a cyber attack makes many CEOs of mid-market companies feel exposed and uncertain.

Another stress is the related issue of compliance: many companies are at risk of huge contractual penalties from their customers in the event of a data breach or the like. And the law is tighter than ever, with big government fines making headlines.

For business in heavily regulated industries, security standards and good practice are part of the corporate culture. But for most businesses in ordinary markets, the situation is far more ambiguous.

These are complex issues. And a CEO’s time is short. It can be difficult to find a simple, affordable strategy for security and compliance. There is often no-one in the boardroom with the necessary technical knowledge, experience, and sensible attitude to lead the approach.

That’s why we’ve prepared this two-part report: to provide busy CEOs with a template for mitigating the stresses and risks of cyber security and compliance.

Why it’s hard to get started

In our experience the underlying issue is that mid-market companies lack the expertise to feel confident. The IT team understands the technical issues; business teams understand the commercial issues. But there may not be someone at the executive level with a firm grasp of all sides of the problem.

Meanwhile, external advisors are typically selling expensive products like AI-based intrusion detection, data loss prevention software, or advanced malware protection. But they’re often more concerned with making a sale than helping your company.

Often the starting points should be relatively inexpensive training sessions that will cultivate a culture of compliance in your staff. At the same time, there are simple steps to reduce threats and to minimise impact in the event of a breach.

The ideas are straightforward, but their execution can be complicated. Boards need to accept that secure practices might not be as convenient or simple as the status quo. But keeping your business secure is worth the investment of effort and, when done well, the positive impact enormously outweighs the negative.

But, above all, given the real risks and regulatory environment, there is no longer any alternative to taking action!

The basics of security and compliance

You may have heard that there’s no such thing as being truly secure. Well, that’s true — when it comes to cyber security, there is no finish line. But there are a set of basic, practical steps that every business should put in place.

Consultants, product vendors, and the media would have you believe that it’s much more complicated. But based on our years of experience with hundreds of mid-market companies, nearly every single hack or breach were a result of basic errors — mistakes due to carelessness, lack of training or lack of expertise.

Yes, sophisticated attacks do happen. But they’re very rare. And even when sophisticated attacks have occurred, basic measures have allowed our clients to recover quickly with limited damage.

Our follow-up article provides a clear roadmap to help you rest easier when it comes to security and compliance. In the meantime, for more straightforward advice about cyber security, see our article on the 13 Strategic Steps to Cyber-Security for Non-Technical Board Members.

And here is part II of cyber security and compliance.

Visit our Cyber Security and Compliance Knowledge Centre which includes all content related to this topic.

Cyber security and compliance strategy for non-technical board members

Cyber and compliance are huge threats, but for a non-technical board member it’s difficult to set direction and strategy if you’re not an expert.

It’s a subject that isn’t going away anytime soon and keeps many business owners or CEOs awake at night. If you get the basics right you can protect yourself.

We have created various pieces of content on this matter. Our latest is this short video.

You might also find 13 key steps to cyber security for non-technical Board members relevant/interesting too, or you can visit our Cyber Security and Compliance Knowledge Centre which includes all content related to this topic.

You can also download and read our full CEO’s Briefing about Cyber, Legal, Compliance.

Cyber, legal, compliance … How a CEO can sleep soundly

It is not an exaggeration to say that most days we meet companies who have been hacked, their reputations damaged, and money lost. Successful websites can be juicy targets; ransom-ware can bring a company to a standstill.

Many companies have demanding standards and huge contractual penalties imposed on them by their customers. And the law is tighter than ever, with big fines making headline news.

The threat of cyber makes many CEO’s of mid-market companies feel exposed and uncertain. These are complex issues, your time is short, and finding a simple commercial and strategic approach can feel difficult.

But there are simple strategic steps and this document describes the basic projects to make your business secure and compliant.

You might also find 13 key steps to cyber security for non-technical Board members relevant/interesting too. Here is a short video about cyber security & compliance strategy for non-technical Board members.

Visit our Cyber Security and Compliance Knowledge Centre which includes all content related to this topic.

13 key steps to cyber security for non-technical board members

Cyber attacks can be complicated, but in our experience over many years, most are really simple and exploit basic weaknesses.

In the vast majority of cases, simple steps can make you safe, or minimise disruption in the event of an attack. But, normally, these decisions are taken by technicians and the Board are not able to effectively challenge or lead.

Here is a simple list of 13 questions and answers to allow non-technical Board members to stop hoping for good luck!

  1. How do we get security risks and issues under control?
    Every substantial business should maintain a list of risks and issues, with some analysis of the options and mitigations. Each risk or issue should be owned by someone around the Board table who has the expertise, time and ability to manage it. This document should be reviewed by the Board at least annually. The list and the open discussion drives sensible, productive decision-making and avoids a culture of sweeping issues under the carpet. This approach prevents overspending in the wrong areas – it’s all about ‘proportionate response’.
  2. What kind of insurance do we need?
    Unfortunately, not all Cyber Insurance is created equal and you need to take care to select an appropriate policy and provider. Check the exclusions on the policy and ensure a member of your Board understands the cover. Cyber Insurance may not give you back money that’s stolen from you – that generally requires Criminal Insurance. Check your IT is compliant with your policy conditions – the devil is always in the detail and your IT team or supplier need to know what they have to do to maintain compliance? Finally are your suppliers’ contracts clear about their liability and are they appropriately insured?
  3. How do I get staff to take security seriously?
    Security systems can be bypassed by canny criminals because they know where the weak link is … it’s your people. Create a ‘security culture’, where taking this stuff seriously is encouraged. Ensure you and the Board demonstrate good practice – for example, if you write your passwords on post-its then you should fully expect your staff to do the same… and one day you will probably be hacked as a result. Many hackers exploit helpful staff who simply hand over money! Sound financial processes, clear controls, good education and ongoing training are all vital to security. Remind people to ‘think before you click’!
  4. How do we keep data secure?
    Access to systems and data should only be given to those who need it. This is known as a least-privilege policy. For example, when a person is given access to a system, the default should ensure that person has no rights to anything. Then privileges should be granted according to what that person needs to do in the system, building up to only include the data and processes they require. If you don’t follow a least-privilege system, then you are really exposed to cyber attack, to fraud and to errors. When users’ roles change their access should be reduced if their job doesn’t require it anymore (and their access removed altogether when they leave!)
  5. What are firewalls?
    Start by ensuring your office has sensible physical security. Then make sure the equivalent measures are in place for your systems – these are your firewalls. Knowledgeable and trusted experts who understand the complexities of system and firewall management need to configure this equipment and to keep it up to date. Specifically ask them whether they have minimised points of access (ports) and are using secure ports for email and web access rather than standard ports.
  6. Why is it important to keep security up to date?
    This should be so simple, but most hacks exploit the fact that many companies fall behind. All computers should use up to date operating systems which are properly patched; utilise up to date anti-virus and anti-malware systems. However these systems only work well when they know what they’re up against. Newer protection systems coming on the market look for programmes acting suspiciously and will automatically shut down the programme before it has had time to cause mayhem. These systems provide protection against new attacks (often called ‘Zero Day’) because they spot the bad behaviour of an application rather than recognise the malware itself.
  7. What is data encryption?
    To protect your data, it should be encrypted and only accessible to those with the approved rights to look at it. Where you have customer data, particularly user accounts and passwords, ask your IT team whether the data is ‘hashed and salted’ which will make it very secure and difficult to break even if your systems are breached. It is unforgivable nowadays to be holding personal or confidential data unencrypted (known as ‘clear or plain text’).
  8. How should we backup our data?
    Your data and systems should also be well backed up and the backup must be stored off-site, preferably with no connection to your live systems (known as an ‘airgap’). Ensure the backups include multiple versions of the same document in case corruption or malicious encryption took place at some point in the past. Having a decent data backup can be the difference between having a business post-disaster and not.
  9. What is a penetration test?
    A penetration test is an assessment by an expert company of your website and network to find weaknesses. This is essential if your website includes custom software or any kind of ecommerce services. Poor technical practices can result in custom software being full of holes and these are well documented in a standard list known as the OWASP top 10. This list are the standard vulnerabilities that almost all hackers focus on – ensure your penetration test includes checks against the OWASP top 10. Simple!
  10. Practical but secure password rules.
    Many hackers don’t have to be clever because users make it easy by choosing ‘password123’ – hackers automate attacks testing thousands of obvious passwords until they get lucky! Users must take passwords seriously, choose long passwords that are hard to guess, use different passwords, and don’t share. Software can be used to store passwords securely, but if people must write down details then these must be locked away. Make sure your systems are configured to enforce good password discipline and lock out users after repeated failure attempts. Sensitive systems should be protected by 2 pieces of information, not just a password (this is called ‘2 factor’ or ‘multi-factor’ authentication).
  11. Sensible Cyber Attack crisis plans.
    Establish how you will handle a crisis in advance. Who’s in charge if you are attacked by ransomware and decisions need to be taken on the spot. GDPR makes specific requirements about notifying the ICO if you suffer a security breach – who is responsible for making this happen; failure to do so will result in a fine.
  12. Why does security certification matter?
    Certification will give a focus and purpose to your efforts to improve security. A good place to start is Cyber Essentials Plus certification. This will provide you with a government standard accreditation that directly demonstrates to you, your company and your customers that you take security seriously and that you’re working to ensure their data is held securely and your systems are well managed. We know of clients that have won new customers simply because they stood out from the competition by having Cyber Essentials Plus accreditation. If your business is complex or has specific security requirements then ISO27001 provides you with a means to go further and embed a ‘security culture’.
  13. Who should be in charge of Cyber Security?
    Someone around the Board table who has the time, expertise and right commercial attitude! This person needs to start by getting clear on what you’ve got – who are the users, 3rd parties and suppliers who access your systems. List your equipment, networks, software etc. What are the crown jewels that really matter and ensure these are these properly protected. If you want a high-class CIO, CTO or IT Director on your side and sitting around your Board table…then that’s where we come in!

You can download and read our full CEO’s Briefing about Cyber, Legal, Compliance here. And a short video about cyber security and compliance strategy for non-technical Board members. Or, visit our Knowledge Centre which includes all content related to this topic.

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Graeme Freeman
Co-Founder and Director

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