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Columbus Making Strides to Prevent IT breaches

Published:Wednesday | December 10, 2014 | 12:00 AM

With Sony Pictures now recovering from a major hacking operation, information technology (IT) security breaches are a major concern for most companies, but the vast majority of them are easily avoidable.

A total of 97 per cent of IT security breaches at companies across the globe are "avoidable through simple or intermediate controls", said Donald Barnett, risk consulting partner for advisory services at KPMG (Jamaica).

"And while hacking is the main risk factor - responsible for 58 per cent of breaches - employee negligence is also considerable at 39 per cent," Barnett said.

Barnett was speaking on the topic Protecting Intellectual Property, Financial Data and Your Firm's Reputation in the Face of Growing Cyber Security Breaches during the Leaders to Leaders Seminar on cloud computing and IT security risks and privacy challenges. The seminar took place at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in Kingston on November 26.

Globally, there are also concerns over the safety of cloud computing, according to a KPMG global survey which showed that 69 per cent of senior executives feared that cyber-crime would increase with the new technology, Barnett said.

Jenson Sylvester, director of government and strategic accounts at Columbus Business Solutions (CBS), acknowledging these concerns, has alluded to the fact that these concerns are starting to dissipate. Sylvester said previously, prospective clients raised concerns about security and compliance issues with the cloud as a result of a perception that the service was "not quite ready".

"That perception is now changing, as more companies become aware of the vast investment that CBS has made in its hosted services and the security protocols and systems of those hosted services," Sylvester continued.

He added that CBS' 44,000 kilometre of subsea fibre connecting more than 40 countries means that "our customers can rest assured that we have bags and bags of bandwidth", Sylvester said.

The acceptance of hosted or cloud based solutions is being enhanced as companies adopt a "holistic cyber security model" that is supported at the highest level of an organisation.

"Cyber security is not a department, it is everyone's business," Barnett said. "Cybercriminals themselves can be broken down into four categories," Barnett continued.

"At the most basic level are individual hackers who are trying to show off their skills. Next are activists who are following a certain ideology. Third is organised crime."

But as concern rises that the recent hack attack against Sony Pictures could have been launched by North Korea, Barnett said the most sophisticated form of hacking comes from governments "focused on improving their geopolitical position and/or commercial interests".

North Korea publicly praised the Sony hack as a "righteous deed", given its objection to a comedic film on a plot to assassinate its president, but denied having anything to do with the attack.

"So we have different enemies and different attacks," Barnett said. Knowing your enemy "is important in devising your strategy", he added.

The Leaders to Leaders forum sought to empower its participants through knowledge by inviting industry leaders to speak on a wide range of topics. Security is one of the areas that must be fully considered under the Jamaica Logistics Hub project.