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What role does cyber security play in digital transformation?

918 612 Guest Blog

Richard Menear, CEO, Burning Tree

The capabilities of modern technology have continued to progress, with widespread digitisation sweeping through almost every aspect of our lives. Digital transformation takes digitisation one step further, integrating technology into each business area — including improving operations, refining the customer experience and fostering a more cyber-aware workforce.

And although digitisation was underway before the COVID-19 pandemic hit in 2020, many organisations — from universities to food delivery companies — were forced to ramp up this process and embark on total digital transformation in response to new remote working requirements and changing consumer behaviour. So much so that the adoption of technology sped up by three to seven years in the space of mere months as organisations raced to implement the latest software.

But in the modern world, simply adopting new technology or software into your business is not enough to keep pace with competitors. For a fully integrated digital transformation to succeed, IT professionals and business leaders must ensure security is built in at every stage — or risk falling foul of increasingly sophisticated cyber attacks.

What does digital transformation entail?

When a business undergoes digital transformation, its IT becomes the central hub for all its operations. Digital transformation will look different for every business (and even vary between teams within the same company) but generally involves a complete rethinking of how organisations operate using technology.

Digital transformation might mean investing in IT departments, building a new mobile application or e-commerce site, or implementing DevOps or Agile programs to improve system functionality. Whatever the case may be, the point of digital transformation is to embrace the improved agility, scalability and flexibility that modern technology has to offer to automate critical processes and make a business more efficient as a whole.

Without adopting technologies such as the Cloud or the Internet of Things (IoT), many businesses of all sizes and sectors will struggle to keep up with the demand for digital, as physical legacy systems become outdated and unable to support growth. In fact, what was once considered best-in-class adoption speed, even just a few years ago, is now slower than the average for most businesses.

An effective digital transformation will allow a business’ IT to contribute to offerings and generate revenue — not just prop up existing functions. Plus, by streamlining processes and building the infrastructure necessary to do so, technology can improve communication, customer service and, most importantly, security. But only if security is built in from the outset…

When can digital transformation threaten security?

In a rush to get the newest technology and software online, many businesses make cyber security an afterthought — leaving them and their customers vulnerable to attack.

In the past year, there have been a staggering number of cyber attacks in the UK alone. Microsoft’s Exchange servers were famously corrupted in 2021, claiming at least 60,000 known victims around the world before the breach was detected. Even schools have fallen victim to hackers, such as six schools in the Isle of Wight recently compromised by a ransomware attack.

And it is not just the large corporations at risk; small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are regularly subjected to hacking attempts. Around 65,000 attacks are carried out every day in the UK — approximately 4,500 of which are successful.

So, as IT infrastructures grow in size and companies lean on cloud-native technology for daily functions, new systems must have the capability to identify and mitigate security risks at an early stage of software lifecycles. Otherwise, application vulnerabilities could introduce an unacceptable amount of risk and prevent a system from keeping pace with changing threats and developments, negating the purpose of implementing new technologies in the first place.

Therefore, effective digital transformation must involve a complete overhaul of how businesses think about security — from educating a more cyber-aware workforce to securing the appropriate budgets for IT departments and cyber security software.

5 Minutes With… Hanwha Techwin’s Billy Hopkins

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In the latest instalment of our security industry executive interview series we spoke to Billy Hopkins (pictured, right), National Account Manager at Hanwha Techwin, about the company, the ongoing challenges of COVID-19 for the security sector, cyber security in video surveillance, the impact of AI and more…

Tell us about your company, products and services.

Hanwha Techwin are a global leader in the video surveillance industry, offering complete security solutions which encompass network and analogue cameras, recording solutions, video management software and compression technology. With a vision to deliver a safer world through our cooperate philosophy of trust and loyalty.

What have been the biggest challenges the Security industry has faced over the past 12 months?

COVID has undoubtedly been one of biggest challenges and with it, we have had to find new ways of working whilst maintaining a safe environment.

And what have been the biggest opportunities?

One of the biggest opportunities has been the ability to release free of charge applications for our products that help with public safety, such as occupancy monitoring applications and facemask detection applications.

What is the biggest priority for the Security industry in 2020?

The biggest priority should be around cyber security and ensuring new products released are meeting the highest standards such as Secure by default and UL Cap independent testing.

What are the main trends you are expecting to see in the market in 2022?

A key trend will be in the new product ranges where video will help to innovate, such as utilising AI for parking management systems and increasing the accuracy on analytics for retail focused applications.

What technology is going to have the biggest impact on the market this coming year?

AI technology is at the forefront of the current technological advancements, with cost effective edge based AI functions becoming a reality of today. The ability to be able to deploy advanced AI tech to any system size, not just enterprise solutions, will benefit many.

In 2025 we’ll all be talking about…?

Cloud solutions or SaaS will play are bigger role and I expect 2025 will see an increase in the variety of solutions on offer.

Which person in, or associated with, the Security industry would you most like to meet?

Fraser Sampson, the Surveillance Camera Commissioner – I believe Fraser has an important role in shaping the future of CCTV in the UK and beyond ensuring current and emerging technology is used responsibly.

You go to the bar at the Total Security Summit – what’s your tipple of choice?

I’m not much of a drinker but if pushed a good whisky!

What’s the most exciting thing about your job?

I really enjoy the seeing the result of our technology making a difference. Following a request from system design through to seeing it in action makes it worthwhile.

And what’s the most challenging?

Making sure the solutions we put together solve the problem for those at the end of the chain.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

Luck comes from hard work.

Succession or Stranger Things?

Stranger Things!

The Security Institute and BSIA forge closer ties

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The Security Institute and the British Security Industry Association (BSIA) have signed a memorandum of understanding, which will see both organisations promote and strengthen each other’s efforts to support security professionals and raise standards across the security sector.

Both organisations are strong voices representing professional security in the UK, and under this new agreement the organisations will support each other’s events and wider work within the security sector.

The BSIA is the trade association for the professional security industry in the UK, representing a wide range of companies operating in the security industry. Its members are responsible for more than 70% of privately provided UK security products and services (by turnover). This includes the manufacturing, distribution and installation of electronic and physical security equipment and the provision of security guarding and consultancy services.

In turn, the Security Institute is the UK’s largest membership organisation for security professionals with over 4,100 individual members. The Institute’s members represent the wide breadth of the security sector, with members from across the industry and over 30 Government Departments. Since 2000, the Institute has been working to promote the highest possible standards of integrity and professional competence across security as well as the continued professional development of its members.

This new formalised relationship continues a long history of collaboration between the Institute and the BSIA. Most recently in 2020, the two organisations joined forces along with the Security Commonwealth to launch the ‘Hidden Workforce – Perceptions’ campaign. This awareness campaign highlighted the essential role that Security Officers play in public life, especially since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Security Institute’s Chief Executive Rick Mounfield CSyP FSyI, said: “This new memorandum of understanding between the Security Institute and BSIA is a fantastic development, the benefits of which will be felt across the security community. There is so much to be gained from working more closely together, as two established organisations seeking to support security professionals and raise standards in the security sector. The ‘Hidden Workforce – Perceptions’ campaign is already a shining example of what can be achieved when we collaborate, and I am sure this is just the start of things to come.”

Mike Reddington, CEO at BSIA, added: “The value of work undertaken by those operating in the private security industry often goes unnoticed. BSIA’s proactive collaboration with the Security Institute formalised with this MOU will help reinforce our collective commitment in raising awareness of the immense contribution our industry makes in keeping people, places and property safe. There are so many great opportunities being developed to drive our industry forward through development of standards. This collaborative approach of the BSIA and Syl working in partnership will enable us to further develop, promote and support this work at an accelerated pace.”

Cybersecurity: The crucial double check 

918 612 Stuart O'Brien

Cybersecurity has quickly become the world’s fastest growing form of criminal activity, and is showing no sign of slowing down with the number of attacks on businesses continuing to increase. COVID-19 has acted as a catalyst for this, with hackers taking advantage of remote workers during challenging times.

Despite innovations and sophistication in hacking methods, one of the main means of data loss is insiders, including employees making mistakes. Humans make errors – stressed, distracted employees will make even more mistakes. And with sensitive information on the line, such as regulatory compliance to safeguarding Intellectual Property (IP), companies are increasingly concerned about the risk of inadvertent data loss. But how can this threat be mitigated?

Andrea Babbs, UK General Manager, VIPRE SafeSend, emphasises the importance of implementing a crucial double check to improve email security culture…

Human Error 

Business reliance on email is creating a very significant cyber security risk – and not simply due to the increasing volume and sophistication of phishing and ransomware attacks. Given the sheer volume of emails sent and received a day (over 300 billion every day in 2020), mistakes are inevitable. Employees are trusted with company-sensitive information and assets, and many are permitted to make financial transactions – often without requiring additional approval. Furthermore, with strict data protection requirements in place, not only GDPR, but also industry specific regulations, organisations clearly require robust processes to mitigate the risk of inadvertent data loss.

According to reports, 34% of all breaches are caused by insider fault, yet many employees are unaware of their responsibility when it comes to data protection. Should confidential corporate information fall into the wrong hands, the consequences could be devastating, including financial penalties, loss of trust and competitors gaining an advantage. BitMEX, one of the world’s largest cryptocurrency trading platforms accidentally leaked thousands of private customer email addresses when they sent out a mass mailshot without using the BCC function. But how could this mistake be stopped? What employees need is a way to better manage their email functions, with an opportunity for potential mistakes to be flagged before an individual hits send, for example showing who is in the to, cc and bcc fields.

Additional Layers 

Few organisations have a clear strategy for helping their employees understand how a simple error can put the company at significant risk; even fewer have a strategy for mitigating that risk and protecting their staff from becoming an insider threat. But more importantly, what they may not be aware of is that there is a solution available that can add a layer of employee security awareness.

Businesses can help employees avoid simple mistakes, such as misaddressed emails, by providing a simple safety check, which alerts users to confirm both the identity of the addressee(s) and, if relevant, any attachments. The solution can be configured to work on a department or user basis, for example, a business may not want HR to be able to mistakenly send sensitive personal information to anyone internally and therefore require a confirmation for all emails.

In addition to confirming email addresses and attachment(s), the technology can also check for keywords within the email content using Data Loss Prevention rules, and each business can set its own requirements and parameters determined by corporate security protocols. Any emails, including attachments containing these keywords, will be flagged, requiring an extra process of validity before they are sent without impeding working practices, and providing users with a chance to double check whether the data should be shared with the recipient(s).

The Essential ‘Pause’ Moment 

Deploying an essential tool that prompts for a second check and warns when a mistake is about to be made helps organisations mitigate the risk of accidental error, and the potentially devastating consequences that might have on the business. Accidentally CCing a customer, rather than the similarly named colleague, will be avoided because the customer’s domain will not be on the allow list and therefore automatically highlighted. This is more crucial than ever before with employees dispersed across a range of locations as part of hybrid working. Such tools can support mixed operating system environments and DLP add-ons can be given to certain departments and groups who handle very sensitive information such as employee or legal data.

This type of tool is key for companies and reinforces a security culture, building on education and training, with a valuable solution that helps users avoid the common email mistakes that are inevitable when people are distracted, tired or stressed. It provides an essential ‘pause’ moment, enabling individuals to feel confident that emails have been sent to the right people and with the right attachments.

In addition to checking the validity of outbound and inbound email addresses and attachments, it can also support in minimising the risk of staff falling foul of a phishing attack. For example, an email that purports to come from inside the company, but actually has a cleverly disguised similar domain name, such as receiving an email from V1PRE, as opposed to VIPRE. The technology will automatically flag that email when the user replies showing that it is not from an allowed domain, enabling the user to cancel send and avoid falling for the phishing attack.

Conclusion

Email is arguably the key productivity tool in most working environments today, placing much of the responsibility for secure use of that tool on employees. But supporting staff with an extra prompt for them to double check they aren’t mistakenly sharing confidential data helps to raise awareness, understanding and provides that essential security lock-step – before it’s too late. The premise is not to add time or delay in the day to day management of email; it is about fostering an attitude of awareness and care in an area where a mistake is easily made

No organisation is immune to human error, but by having a clear strategy in place to address the issue of misaddressed emails and data loss through emails, as well as mitigating the associated risks helps businesses to remain compliant and secure. It’s all about increasing awareness and improving email culture where mistakes can so easily be made, while reinforcing compliance credentials.

Study highlights hybrid working security concerns

960 640 Stuart O'Brien

96% of business leaders and 93% of employees agree that it is important for their company to have a system in place that logs and tracks visitors who enter and exit the building when employees work in the office.

That’s according to data from Securing the New Hybrid Workplace, a report from Entrust that surveyed 1,500 business leaders and 1,500 general employees from 10 countries to better understand how workers from the manager level to the C-suite are preparing for a new hybrid workplace

As a rise in variants spurs new uncertainties around the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses around the globe are tasked with developing a long-term plan and work model, whether in-person, remote or hybrid, that meets the needs of employees and the business.

Key findings include:

  • Hybrid is here to stay, but security concerns are high: The overwhelming majority of respondent companies are moving to a long-term hybrid workplace approach. In fact, 80% of leaders and 75% of employees said their company is currently using a hybrid model or is fully remote and considering a hybrid work model. But, 54% of employees reported up to six instances of lost productivity due to network access issues and leaders cite home internet security (21%) and leakage of sensitive company data (20%) among their top security challenges.
  • Visitor management is an in-office priority: Having a detailed record of who has been in and out of a company’s office is a larger priority in 2021. 96% of business leaders and 93% of employees agree that it is important for their company to have a system in place that logs and tracks visitors who enter and exit the building when employees work in the office.
  • Home office data security presents new challenges: Businesses need to change their data security approach now that employees are more decentralized than ever before. However, while data security is a priority for leaders with 81% saying their company has offered employees training on it, only 61% of employees said their company offers this training, indicating a communication gap.

“With the uncertainties of the last year and a half, many organizations are well-adapted to remote work. With leaders planning the future state of their workplace models, we wanted to ask how they are adapting security and identity for the hybrid workplace: how are leaders and employees prepared to protect data and sensitive information? How will office security evolve? Will adapting to hybrid workplaces multiply vulnerabilities…or will enterprises choose smart security strategies to enable employees wherever they work?” said Anudeep Parhar, Chief Information Officer at Entrust. “With the study overwhelmingly indicating the desire of 91% of employees to work in a hybrid model moving forward, this data study provides businesses insight about how to democratize work from anywhere and incorporate security practices into their hybrid approach by working with companies like Entrust to implement solutions such as passwordless and biometric authentication, mobile identity verification and more.”

There is no question employers are leaning into a clear desire among employees for hybrid work options, with 68% saying they are considering hiring talent that resides in geographically diverse locations. For employers following this trend and hiring employees in a new, hybrid environment, there are several ways to improve and secure the onboarding process.

The study found business leaders are improving training methods (53%), rolling out new or improved collaboration tools (47%) and implementing mobile ID issuance for remote employees. Furthermore, leaders are taking steps to maintain internal security as they incorporate a hybrid model, with 51% rolling out one-time password technology, 40% utilizing biometric authentication and 36% using mobile identity verification, citing the desire to stay ahead of hackers and protect their internal data.

As companies start bringing workers back to the office, the ongoing pandemic raises the stakes of physical security to include health, safety and infosecurity. For example, companies must consider best practices when they begin to open their doors to visitors outside their internal workforce once more. Entrust found support for organizational visitor management is overwhelming, with 96% of business leaders and 93% of employees agreeing that it is important for their company to have a system in place that logs and tracks visitors who enter and exit the building when employees work in the office.

With this in mind, companies will begin paying more attention to who’s going in and out of the office building. Reasons for this enhanced scrutiny of visitors is primarily due to caution surrounding COVID-19, with 83% of leaders and 84% of employees citing the risk of spreading COVID-19 as the top reason it is important to have a system in place that manages and tracks guests. Other reasons included protecting confidential information (65% of leaders and 55% of employees) and avoiding physical harm to employees (61% of leaders and 62% of employees).

Business leaders also agree that it is imperative to consider the intersection of data security and work from home standards. Fortunately, it appears that the introduction of hybrid work has resulted in a step in the right direction for workplace data protection. In fact, while 81% of leaders said their company has offered employees training on data security, the overwhelming majority (86%) said it was offered as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, indicating a trend towards enhanced data security.

Unfortunately, while leaders are offering this training, only 61% of employees said their company offers this training, indicating a communication gap between leadership and their employees. By communicating these trainings to employees, leaders can help reduce the risk of security threats including phishing and ransomware attacks.

Naturally, while the Securing the New Hybrid Workplace data study takes a holistic look at the top trends of hybrid work, some individual countries presented data that is particularly intriguing. Some top findings of key international trends and takeaways include:

  • 65% of employers in Japan say they have offered data security training for the hybrid work model, but only 36% of employees agree, indicating a potential gap in communication or training execution.
  • Businesses in Saudi Arabia (89%) and the United Arab Emirates (87%) are by far the most willing to consider hiring talent that resides anywhere in the world. Businesses in the United States and Singapore are the next most likely to hire talent anywhere in the world, both with 73% of leaders indicating they would be willing to hire global talent.
  • Businesses in Indonesia are particularly likely to implement cutting-edge security technologies into their business practices, with 75% of employers saying they have utilized one-time passwords and 69% indicating they utilize biometric authentication.
  • Of the countries surveyed, respondents from Germany indicated the lowest productivity impact due to network access or login delays with 49% reporting that they have never had an issue, and 27% reporting only 1-3 incidents. By comparison, in the United Kingdom, only 25% reported no issues, with 34% reporting 1-3 incidents.

Securing the New Hybrid Workplace is a study of 1,500 business leaders and 1,500 employees in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, Germany, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Indonesia, Japan and Singapore. The data was gathered and distributed by Entrust in 2021.

The study examines new data surrounding hot topics including best practices for hybrid work, office visitor management systems and how hybrid work affects workplace security. To learn more visit www.entrust.com/lp/en/securing-the-new-hybrid-workplace.

Protecting remote assets with reliable, high-security locking solutions

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As we begin to rely more heavily on technology, the UK’s infrastructure is constantly evolving to keep up. The number of cabinets, kiosks and enclosures needed to house equipment such as electrical cables, control panels and pumps/valves is increasing. As well as the numerous advantages this gives operators, there are several risks associated.

Securing field-based assets can be a challenge for any end-user. The priority is ensuring operational efficiency and protecting against vandalism, theft, or malicious attacks simultaneously. Adding in the pressures of keeping the public safe, selecting the correct locking system soon becomes a top priority.

The dormakaba Enclosure Guard offers a high security, robust and reliable option for securing such equipment. Features include:

  • 98mm solid stainless-steel body,
  • 13mm stainless-steel locking bolt,
  • Pin/tumbler key mechanism that has been tested to the highest standards.

Delivering high levels of resistance to physical attack whilst also securing against surreptitious manipulation, protecting against unauthorised access.

As a worldwide access and security solutions manufacturer with over 150 years of experience, dormakaba has earned the trust of major end users and specialist OEM partners. We are a provider of robust patent-protected, high-security key & cylinder systems, designed to operate in some of the most demanding industrial applications. We’re proud of our ability to work with our clients as a design partner, offering CAD design and prototype & development facilities for new, bespoke and existing locking applications.

Find out more about dormakaba Enclosure Guard, here: dormakaba Enclosure Guard

Global study shines security spotlight on hybrid working

960 640 Stuart O'Brien

96% of business leaders and 93% of employees agree that it is important for their company to have a system in place that logs and tracks visitors who enter and exit the building when employees work in the office.

That’s according to a new study Securing the New Hybrid Workplace, undertaken by Entrust, to gauge the mood within business as a rise in variants spurs new uncertainties around the COVID-19 pandemic, with many developing a long-term plan and work model, whether in-person, remote or hybrid, that meets the needs of employees and the business.

Entrust surveyed 1,500 business leaders and 1,500 general employees from 10 countries to better understand how workers from the manager level to the C-suite are preparing for a new hybrid workplace. Key findings include:

  • Hybrid is here to stay, but security concerns are high: The overwhelming majority of respondent companies are moving to a long-term hybrid workplace approach. In fact, 80% of leaders and 75% of employees said their company is currently using a hybrid model or is fully remote and considering a hybrid work model. But, 54% of employees reported up to six instances of lost productivity due to network access issues and leaders cite home internet security (21%) and leakage of sensitive company data (20%) among their top security challenges.
  • Visitor management is an in-office priority: Having a detailed record of who has been in and out of a company’s office is a larger priority in 2021. 96% of business leaders and 93% of employees agree that it is important for their company to have a system in place that logs and tracks visitors who enter and exit the building when employees work in the office.
  • Home office data security presents new challenges: Businesses need to change their data security approach now that employees are more decentralized than ever before. However, while data security is a priority for leaders with 81% saying their company has offered employees training on it, only 61% of employees said their company offers this training, indicating a communication gap.

Anudeep Parhar, Chief Information Officer at Entrust, said: “With the uncertainties of the last year and a half, many organisations are well-adapted to remote work. With leaders planning the future state of their workplace models, we wanted to ask how they are adapting security and identity for the hybrid workplace: how are leaders and employees prepared to protect data and sensitive information? How will office security evolve? Will adapting to hybrid workplaces multiply vulnerabilities… or will enterprises choose smart security strategies to enable employees wherever they work?

“With the study overwhelmingly indicating the desire of 91% of employees to work in a hybrid model moving forward, this data study provides businesses insight about how to democratise work from anywhere and incorporate security practices into their hybrid approach by working with companies like Entrust to implement solutions such as password-less and biometric authentication, mobile identity verification and more.”

The report says there is no question employers are leaning into a clear desire among employees for hybrid work options, with 68% saying they are considering hiring talent that resides in geographically diverse locations. For employers following this trend and hiring employees in a new, hybrid environment, there are several ways to improve and secure the onboarding process.

The study found business leaders are improving training methods (53%), rolling out new or improved collaboration tools (47%) and implementing mobile ID issuance for remote employees. Furthermore, leaders are taking steps to maintain internal security as they incorporate a hybrid model, with 51% rolling out one-time password technology, 40% utilizing biometric authentication and 36% using mobile identity verification, citing the desire to stay ahead of hackers and protect their internal data.

As companies start bringing workers back to the office, the ongoing pandemic raises the stakes of physical security to include health, safety and infosecurity. For example, companies must consider best practices when they begin to open their doors to visitors outside their internal workforce once more. Entrust found support for organizational visitor management is overwhelming, with 96% of business leaders and 93% of employees agreeing that it is important for their company to have a system in place that logs and tracks visitors who enter and exit the building when employees work in the office.

With this in mind, companies will begin paying more attention to who’s going in and out of the office building. Reasons for this enhanced scrutiny of visitors is primarily due to caution surrounding COVID-19, with 83% of leaders and 84% of employees citing the risk of spreading COVID-19 as the top reason it is important to have a system in place that manages and tracks guests. Other reasons included protecting confidential information (65% of leaders and 55% of employees) and avoiding physical harm to employees (61% of leaders and 62% of employees).

Business leaders also agree that it is imperative to consider the intersection of data security and work from home standards. Fortunately, it appears that the introduction of hybrid work has resulted in a step in the right direction for workplace data protection. In fact, while 81% of leaders said their company has offered employees training on data security, the overwhelming majority (86%) said it was offered as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, indicating a trend towards enhanced data security.

Unfortunately, while leaders are offering this training, only 61% of employees said their company offers this training, indicating a communication gap between leadership and their employees. By communicating these trainings to employees, leaders can help reduce the risk of security threats including phishing and ransomware attacks.

Naturally, while the Securing the New Hybrid Workplace data study takes a holistic look at the top trends of hybrid work, some individual countries presented data that is particularly intriguing. Some top findings of key international trends and takeaways include:

  • 65% of employers in Japan say they have offered data security training for the hybrid work model, but only 36% of employees agree, indicating a potential gap in communication or training execution.
  • Businesses in Saudi Arabia (89%) and the United Arab Emirates (87%) are by far the most willing to consider hiring talent that resides anywhere in the world. Businesses in the United States and Singapore are the next most likely to hire talent anywhere in the world, both with 73% of leaders indicating they would be willing to hire global talent.
  • Businesses in Indonesia are particularly likely to implement cutting-edge security technologies into their business practices, with 75% of employers saying they have utilized one-time passwords and 69% indicating they utilize biometric authentication.
  • Of the countries surveyed, respondents from Germany indicated the lowest productivity impact due to network access or login delays with 49% reporting that they have never had an issue, and 27% reporting only 1-3 incidents. By comparison, in the United Kingdom, only 25% reported no issues, with 34% reporting 1-3 incidents.

UK Cyber Security Council open for memberships

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The UK Cyber Security Council, the self-regulatory body for the cyber security education and skills sector, has begun accepting applications from organisations for membership.

Any organisation with an interest in promoting, supporting and developing the cyber security profession is encouraged to apply.

Member organisations will be able to nominate representatives with the relevant skills and experience to the Council’s committees, which are the primary mechanisms through which the Council will deliver on its objectives around developing the profession.

Don MacIntyre, interim CEO for the UK Cyber Security Council, said: “Professional Standards, Qualifications and Careers, Ethics and Diversity are the stand-out issues facing the profession and its practitioners. Businesses with an interest in cyber security will never have a better opportunity to influence the direction and development of these and other issues than to join the Council and getting involved”.

The Council will focus on gathering views from the full breadth of the membership to inform activities and decisions. Accordingly, all member organisations will be encouraged to engage in the work of the Council, through engagement mechanisms that will be put in place.

“It is only through building an actively engaged community of members that the Council will be able to speak as the representative voice for the UK’s cyber security profession. With every new membership, our voice becomes clearer, louder and increasingly more difficult to be ignored”, added MacIntyre.

In accordance with its remit, the Council’s committees will focus on the core activities of Professional Standards, Qualifications and Careers, Ethics and Diversity. Members will be able to nominate representatives once their applications are approved and completed.

For more information, visit https://www.ukcybersecuritycouncil.org.uk/membership/.

GCHQ and HOST launch innovation programme in North West

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GCHQ, the UK’s intelligence and cyber agency, is looking for five ambitious businesses to join its pioneering innovation programme to apply trailblazing technologies to national security challenges.

The GCHQ Innovation Co-Lab, developed in partnership with HOST, the Home of Skills & Technology, is aimed at UK-based digital companies or a consortium of companies with innovative approaches to technology and analytics, or a vision to reach alternative markets for their products or service.

Businesses can apply to take part in specific challenges as part of the Co-Lab. These include:

  • Dealing with uncertainty: Products and services which utilise open-source information to help people make sense of current events and plan for the future; and
  • Re-imagining morse code: Technology that will help improve automated translation and transcriptions, supported by advances in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning – re-thinking traditional morse code technology for the future.

Another challenge is a wild card option, where businesses will have the rare opportunity to showcase to GCHQ an innovative and unique approach to technology that helps shape the future for the better.

While applications are open to all, they are particularly welcome from entrepreneurs in the North West, who are from diverse and underrepresented backgrounds.

Kate, GCHQ, Head of Research and Engineering in Manchester, said: “We’re excited to be collaborating with the thriving technology ecosystem in Greater Manchester, connecting diverse entrepreneurs and creative technologists with the mission of GCHQ to bring fresh perspectives to our challenges.”

Mo Isap, CEO of IN4.0 Group, operator of HOST, said: “As a dedicated innovation partner of GCHQ, we are privileged to continue to support founders with this specialist programme, ensuring innovation is inclusive and accessible for businesses and individuals across the region and the UK.

“The Co-Lab offers emerging technology businesses access to technologists and innovators from GCHQ as well as valuable innovation and business growth support from the HOST community and its industry partners.”

The programme will be delivered in a hybrid style, both in-person and virtually over five months with companies benefitting from collaboration with technologists and innovators from GCHQ and invaluable mentoring from innovation hub HOST and its investor networks.

This follows two previously successful innovation programmes that involved participants such as Bellrock Technology, which was included in the G-Cloud 12 framework as a data analytics supplier for the UK government. As well as Journey Protector, a developer of technology that helps prevent cargo theft and human trafficking in the logistics industry, led by CEO Anne Lawlor, which has secured significant funding since completing the programme.

The deadline for applications is 13 September, with successful applicants being announced by the end of October, and the programme beginning in November. For further information, visit:https://www.hostsalford.com/programmes/the-gchq-innovation-co-lab-2021/

Dstl event showcases next-gen crime-fighting tech

960 640 Stuart O'Brien

The Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) has hosted an event to encourage free thinking by showcasing new science and technology that could help fight crime and terrorism.

Among the science displayed to senior officials from the National Police Chiefs’ Council and the Home Office was Gravity, a human jet suit system.

The pilot swooped in, then presented a fictitious scenario, flying rapidly through the air and tracking down a would-be assailant.

Those watching the event included Assistant Commissioner Martin Hewitt and Professor Paul Taylor, the Police Chief Scientific Advisor.

Hewitt chairs the National Police Chief Council and coordinates the operational response across the police service to the threats the UK faces, including terrorism, organised crime and national emergencies. He said:

“Seeing a human flying is really impressive. To see something that feels like you’re watching science fiction took all those watching by surprise.

“It is clear the Gravity system has lots of potential and we are fascinated to see how it will develop and if there are any possible uses in a policing environment in years to come.”

Richard Browning (pictured, above), the founder and test pilot of Gravity, said: “It’s always the same reaction – almost disbelief that you could see a human being moving in that way when your only real reference point is probably a Marvel superhero film.

“However, the application of Gravity is endless, to be able to move specialist personnel in an urban environment very quickly in a three dimensional space, be it onto a rooftop, over a river or difficult terrain to potentially contain a roving threat is really powerful.”

Following the recent Integrated Review (IR) and the release of the MODScience and Technology (S&T) strategy, there has been huge investment for science and technology for defence. There is similar investment for policing, the government says.

Hewitt added: “The science and technology has so much cross-application with Defence and Homeland Security. Being here at Dstl is a real opportunity to look at what’s being developed and identify where that could be used in the policing world.

“Having our own requirements placed into the same environment where the science has been pushed as far as it can be pushed, really does present some important and exciting opportunities.”

The group were also able to witness the latest research in knife crime, where scientists are working on knife detection systems that could mean fewer body searches and better protection for police officers and the public.

Dstl’s Head, Counter-Terrorism and Security, said: “Dstl is all about the future, and it is important we explore what others are doing to develop novel systems. It is with great pride that we were able to show some of the incredible science being developed to protect UK citizens to senior policing officials.”