Norfolk Chamber Cyber Security Conference helps business to protect themselves

  • Speakers at Norfolk Chamber's Cyber Security Conference
    Speakers at Norfolk Chamber's Cyber Security Conference
  • Norfolk businesses took the opportunity to question our expert panel on their cyber security issues
    Norfolk businesses took the opportunity to question our expert panel on their cyber security issues

Over 100 Norfolk businesses attended the Chamber’s first Cyber Security Conference at The Space, Norwich this week.  The half day conference provided top tips on how businesses can improve their cyber security measures and gave an overview of the incoming General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which comes into effect in 2018 and will impact on all businesses.

The wide raging ‘Ransomware’ attack that made recent headlines by hitting the NHS and spreading to more than 150 countries sparked a number of thought-provoking discussions.

The event was hosted by Paul Maskall, Security Adviser for the Norfolk and Suffolk Cyber Crime Unit. Paul encouraged delegates to place greater value on their business’ data and ensure that they take responsibility, act proactively and implement robust security measures to protect themselves from the rising threat of data breaches.  He said: “Ransomware is not a new thing and incidents have been doubling over the last few years. Businesses can take some simple steps to protect themselves.  One step would be to ensure that they take regular backups.  On modern ransomware, restoring from a  backup is one of the very few ways in which to circumvent it.”

As well as Mr Maskall, other speakers included: Peter Freeman, Managing Director of FreeClix; Kitty Rosser of law firm, Birketts; Andy Taylor of APMG International and Rahul Colaco of PwC.

Some of the key areas the speakers suggested that businesses should focus on were:

  • Training staff on cyber security and data protection.
  • Creating strong passwords, update them regularly, especially when staff leave
  • Consider undertaking the Cyber Essentials - a government backed accreditation scheme to help you demonstrate that you have taken essential precautions to protect your business and data from cyber threats.
  • The insecurity of Public WIFI and the risk of accessing private information such as online banking details.
  • Undertaking independent penetration testing to check how secure your network is.
  • Creation of policies for staff use and to outline what happens in the case of a cyber attack or data protection breach.

Commenting on the recent high profile hacking, Peter Freeman, Managing Director of FreeClix said:

“Last week’s attack shows there are vulnerabilities all around and many businesses need to update their technical equipment, infrastructure and security systems, which could be more vulnerable to attacks.”

Kitty Rosser of law firm, Birketts commented on new General Data Protection Regulation, which comes into effect in May 2018. She said:

“GDPR will replace our current Data Protection Laws and will bring about huge amounts of changes.  Companies need to be proactive to make sure they are ready.”

The event drew a lot of attention from local media, with extensive coverage of the event provided by Mustard TV’s Neil Perry. The conference was the main feature of Thursday evening’s Business Extra TV programme

The event was well received by delegates and proved to be successful in highlighting the importance of cyber security. Karen McDowall, facilities manager at financial advisory firm Smith and Pinching, said: “I wanted to come to check from an IT point of view that we had everything in hand, and we do have a lot of it in place. It has boosted my confidence in a lot of things and also shown me the areas where we need to improve.”

Harry Mitchell, marketing manager at Anglia Farmers, added: “For us, as an organisation which holds thousands of members’ personal information our priority is going to be how safely that data is held. We are being proactive to make sure we keep our members’ data safe. Today was another sense check to reassure us that we are taking the right steps.”   

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