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Rand Water: Think of how a cyber attack can ruin your brand

Board members simply have to hear cyber security message

The days when cybersecurity was the IT department's headache are over. Information security has become a business issue, particularly as businesses look to digital transformation to remain innovative and relevant in the information age.

So said Vincent Mello, manager: system administration and risk management, Rand Water, speaking at the ITWeb Security Summit 2018 happening this week at Vodacom World in Midrand.

Although C-level execs focus on risk, sustainability and compliance, they cannot afford to neglect cyber security, said Mello. Criminals are sophisticated and determined. They need only a computer, and no organisation, irrespective of size, is immune from attacks.

Shifting concerns

He says while C-level executives and board members are primarily concerned with brand reputation, risk, strategy, compliance and the cost of breaches, it is critical to consider the risks associated with cybersecurity.

According to him, cybersecurity isn't about ticking boxes. Over and above the obvious financial losses, is the loss of reputation.

"It takes years for a business to establish a reputation, but only a matter of minutes to ruin that reputation and lose customer confidence should the company suffer a breach."

Technological revolutions

This is only more true in light of the Fourth Industrial Revolution which has seen a merging of technologies that blur the boundaries between the physical and digital arenas, he says.

Breakthroughs in technologies, and trends such as big data, the cloud, the Internet of Things, AI and robotics also bring a slew of new security risks, and cybersecurity strategies need to be vigilant, and resilient, as well as fully integrated into the business strategy.

The Fifth industrial Revolution will only amplify the need for security to be built into organisational strategy, as greater collaboration between advanced technologies and humans will break down the barriers between the real world and the virtual one.

"We need to be wiser and have appropriate systems, new thinking and a new approach," said Mello.

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