Cyber Security Seminar – Keynote Speaker Nick Alston CBE

Essex Police Crime Commissioner

On the 1st March 2016, Digital Pathways were delighted to hold a Cyber Security Seminar at the Harlow Enterprise Hub. Talks came from a number of esteemed guests, all specialists in their chosen field, and the afternoon was well attended by businesses from across the county looking for security guidance. The keynote speaker for the day was Essex Police Crime Commissioner, Nick Alston CBE, whose insightful presentation centred on the responsibility we all have in the battle against cyber-crime.

Taking the stage as the first speaker at the event, Nick expertly outlined the aggressive rise in cyber-crime that Essex has been experiencing, as well as the police response. Although a countrywide problem, he explained that only the Essex force were training an additional thirty offices to deal primarily with cyber cases, tackling the problem head-on in an attempt to stem the tide.

The statistics highlighted were also incredibly revealing, with Nick displaying evidence that 25 million cyber-crimes were recorded in the UK over the past 12 months, 16 of which involve large organisations in the region with major attacks. Organised crime was another area of the landscape that has been changing dramatically, with 30% of organised groups now centring on cyber and IT.

It was at this point that Nick put emphasis on individual responsibility, and not just reliance on the police. The threat of cyber-attacks can be mitigated substantially with the addition of security awareness training and the installation of more robust systems that can be put in place by both individuals and businesses. Each member of a team in an organisation is responsible for the safe storage of data for their employer. Without adequate training, the accountability can sometimes be underestimated, but with it, along with the security systems, the risk can severally diminish of a data breach.

By far the most interesting parallel that Nick was able to illustrate was between cybersecurity and road safety. His example highlighted the fact that over the past century major changes had been made to behaviour on roads, and that we were all safer as a result. Cyber-crime is at the beginning of this journey, and it is important that we continue to learn and adapt to ensure that ‘fatal’ practices are demolished and replaced with safer alternatives.

The whole afternoon was incredibly interesting for those who attended. Other speakers at the event included Michael Tye of Infinigate who discussed the Insider Threat, Caroline Garrow from SEIB Cyber Insurance, who looked at the importance of robust cyber insurance, Donell Henry of Barclays Bank, with a talk on cyber fraud and our very own Colin Tankard, Managing Director of Digital Pathways who focused on ‘How They Hack’.