Live hack attack at Cisco security breakfast briefing

Live hack attack at Cisco security breakfast briefing

Have you ever been hacked? Executives found out just how vulnerable they are at a security breakfast briefing held at London’s Royal Exchange on 9th July. Did you realise that it is oh-so-easy to take sensitive information from organisations’ ‘secure platforms’ on which employees are operating with confidential data, believing that they are well protected? With instant 24/7 access for customers, cloud or non-cloud computing, employee BYOD programs, information integrity and sensitivity, compliance and regulation, the avenues of entry for ‘lone wolves’, criminal syndicates and rogue governments to penetrate, search and take data – or just create chaos – with your systems is now an ever-present threat. This is the new reality!

‘There are two types of companies. Those who know they’ve been hacked and those who don’t.’ 

John Chambers, CEO, Cisco

Stuart Moulton, who runs Cisco UKI Security team, showed how intelligent cyber security must be an integral part of corporate IT profiles if companies want to operate and deliver business services in a real-world landscape that changes daily. Stories abound of major retailers being compromised per year, 40 million credit cards being stolen, 70 million customers being affected by data breaches, and CIOs and CEOs being removed through attacks that just should not have happened.

Stuart said, ‘This reality is now being understood not just by IT security officers but also all the way up to the boardroom.’ His daily conversations with executives show that they are now coming to terms with the enormous risk and downside of not having a proactive approach to security. He shared a new truth: ‘Good cyber security has now become the new competitive advantage!’ With good security:

  • Organisations and consumers can trust and have confidence in transacting business with your company.
  • Competitors, villains and malware are ‘locked out’ from accessing sensitive information.
  • You are not at the mercy of attacks, which stop you from doing business.

Organisations are in the midst of the perfect storm! This has come about with an explosion in the number and range of devices (how many do you have on you right now?), in how we connect with the internet, and in how we communicate with one another. Hacking is no longer a hobby; it is the new industry! Even states have organised cyber programs, which can target any organisation and any network.

Stuart says that organisations must face three imperatives. They need:

  • to see what is going on in their networks
  • to understand and be aware of threats
  • to take an agile approach to the management of their networks, endpoints, corporate and personal mobile platforms, virtual systems and cloud deployments.

If that wasn’t enough to convince participants in the breakfast briefing, any remaining scepticism was blown away when Adam Denyer-Hampton gave the audience a ‘live hack attack’, showing just how simple it was to breach organisational defences, despite these organisations believing they are protected. Adam shared how traditional firewalls focus on applications and ignore threats. Using the APSU-Cisco solution, Adam demonstrated how Cisco’s FireSIGHT gives organisations that visibility of what is going on in their systems, and how protection is provided across the entire attack spectrum. With Cisco’s ASA and FirePOWER services, organisations get the latest state-of-the-art security to manage and reduce cost and complexity.

With the right cyber security, you are able not only to improve your defence but also (equally importantly) to identify breaches, and just who or what is already inside your system, as well as having the ability to take them out.

Rob Stint and Chris Boyes from APSU showed how security solutions could be delivered and calibrated to organisations’ unique requirements. Whether on-site or utilising hybrid platforms, these solutions can be delivered by APSU and Cisco, along with managed services, on-site and/or remotely. Using this approach, Chris showed how major corporations can manage threat landscapes by minimising their security vulnerability, while not being held hostage to security and highly overpriced programs that they don’t need.

What was evident throughout the meeting was how many organisational security profiles were relatively immature: a comprehensive approach delivered by advanced solutions and security specialists is now needed more than ever.

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