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CYBER SECURITY For many organisations, an imminent cyber attack is inevitable. Former senior intelligence & security officer Philip Ingram MBE stresses the importance of public and private sector collaboration in order to realise the Government’s recently published Cyber Security Strategy and looks towards opportunities for knowledge sharing at International Cyber Expo, taking place on 27-28 September at Olympia, London


he increased use of smart devices and the pandemic has forced a shift towards remote working, driving many organisations around the world to kick-start digital transformation programmes. This rapid adoption of new technologies has uncovered multiple opportunities and high-end operational capabilities to enable teams to work smarter and more efficiently. However, as organisations rush to keep their workforces online, it seems security is being left behind. In fact, a survey revealed that over half or more CISOs and CIOs said they haven’t fully mitigated the risks associated with remote work (50 per cent), digitisation (53 per cent) or cloud adoption (54 per cent). Complex cyber attacks within government and public sector organisations are among the greatest threats to creating better operational efficiencies and processes through digital transformation. Every year, more and more organisations get caught out by cyber criminals, with damages running into billions worldwide. Indeed, the global cost of cybercrime is said to have exceeded $6 trillion in 2021. The attractiveness of public sector data to cyber criminals means they continue to run campaigns to exploit a wealth of personally identifiable information (PII) for identity theft, financial fraud, account takeovers, or create spear phishing emails and social engineering attacks that lead to ransomware. This is in addition to the challenge that most government and public sector organisations are working with a mix of outdated and legacy systems. According to the UK Cyber Security Strategy 20222030 report, 40 per cent of all cyber attacks in 2020-2021 affected the public sector.

THREAT LANDSCAPE Although digital transformation brings with it many benefits, it also dramatically changes the cybersecurity threat landscape for organisations and the challenges they face. As the use of digital technologies grows so does the threat surface, opening up many more areas for potential cyber attacks and data breaches. For many organisations, an imminent cyber attack is inevitable. In April 2022, research from Trend Micro revealed that more than three-quarters of global organisations expect to be successfully hacked in the next 12 months. Also, the recent revelation that a suspected cyber attack leaked personal information of UK government employees which appeared on Russian websites, makes it even more crucial that organisations focus on securing their developing networks and systems. Taking all of the above into consideration, navigating the complexities of modern day cybersecurity has never been harder. The increasing threat environment, expanding attack surface and continuous demands from various stakeholders for transparency are only adding to the challenges. It seems even the most talented cybersecurity professional can feel overwhelmed, made worse by the ongoing cyber skills gap. RALLYING THE TROOPS The digital and cyber skills gap has long been a concern for the industry, resulting in overworked teams teetering on burnout. More than a human resources issue, this particular challenge also has grievous repercussions for business continuity, if not addressed. Indeed, earlier this year, Fortinet produced a research report which E