Defusing the threat of cyber crime
2ndOpinionNow and LAN2LAN have teamed up to provide a new way of stopping hackers from stealing sensitive information and damaging your company’s reputation and financesMatt Scott
Cyber crime is on the rise. A report from PwC has revealed that 90% of large companies and 74% of small firms suffered cyber breaches during 2015 (up from 81% and 60% respectively in 2014).
The cost of such breaches is also on the increase.
In 2015, large firms could expect to pay anything from £1.46m to £3.14m as the result of a breach (up from £600k to £1.15m in 2014), while the average cyber breach cost small companies from £75k to £311k (up from £65k to £115k in 2014).
Worryingly, and despite the obvious risks of such breaches, PwC found that almost a third (32%) of businesses have not carried out any form of security risk assessment.
To help companies deal with this substantial and increasing digital threat, law firm 2ndOpinionNow has partnered with IT specialist LAN2LAN to offer a new and innovative approach to cyber security.
Companies can sign up to an annual retainer that provides access to LAN2LAN’s cyber protection expertise and 2ndOpinionNow’s specialist legal knowledge through a dedicated point of contact, available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
An evolving threat
2ndOpinionNow CEO Chaman Salhan, who is an authorised serious fraud supervisor for the Complex Cases unit within the government’s Legal Services Commission, says that such retainers offer businesses 360-degree protection from an ever-growing threat.
“Companies need an officious bystander looking at how you tackle the problem,” smiles Salhan. “What’s unique about us is that we have experience dealing with serious fraud and we are able to educate companies and keep them up to date with the types of scams that are taking place now.
“A lot of the time, even the police and the Crown Prosecution Service are playing catch-up with cyber criminals. But if you are at the cutting edge – like we are with my work as a serious fraud supervisor – we can ascertain what’s happening and what the current threats are and help prevent them from taking place.”
One major threat for managers is employees using their own smartphones and tablet devices to access company information remotely.
If an employee’s device is hacked, this can provide cyber criminals with access to sensitive business information stored on company servers, and even client data such as bank account details and other sensitive personal information.
“For businesses, more important than the financial loss of a breach is the loss of trade secrets,” Salhan says. “Things like key employee information, your client base and what you are doing that makes you unique in the marketplace.”
Proposed European Union legislation could see firms fined as much as 5% of global turnover in the event of a breach, reinforcing the need for cyber security.
“If you are a business with a profit margin of 10% and have a breach, then a fine of 5% of global turnover has suddenly halved your profit,” Salhan says. “If you don’t address this cyber threat, you could be losing from a third up to a half of your profit every year.”
“At the moment, people don’t know it’s happening and don’t know they are losing money,” he adds. “These criminals see SMEs as an easy target. It is like taking candy from a baby.”
A ticking time bomb
In addition to the financial cost of cyber attacks, there can also be untold damage to a company’s reputation. Look at the pain TalkTalk suffered when it was victim of a cyber attack in October 2015.
“As a business, if you have a breach you lose the faith of customers and employees, and you could even end up in a situation where there are regulatory issues on top of the financial loss,” Salhan says. “Then you are paying more to solve a problem than taking the premeditated steps of trying to stop it now.
“This cyber threat is a ticking time bomb, and it can go off in your business at any time. Unless you wake up to the threat and do something to dismantle it, sooner or later this bomb is going to blow up.”
This is a sponsored feature that was originally run in the Winter edition of Professional Manager. If your company has any cyber security concerns, contact Chaman Salhan for a free chat via his new-look legal business at 2ndopinionnow.co.uk or call 020 7936 3177