Cyber attack. Prevention is better than cure.

  • Breakwater IT
  • John Gostling, Managing Director, Breakwater IT
  • Breakwater IT

Chambers Member, John Gostling, Managing Director at Breakwater IT, has some firm views on the all important issue of cyber threats.

The fact is that we all now store vast amounts of data on laptops, computers, tablets and phones. “Which” says John, “is why we have to be aware. It’s lack of awareness of the nature of cyber threats that’s at the root of many security breaches”.

Technology needs to work together effectively as a whole rather than patching up issues as they occur  is the way John Gostling sees it.  He quotes Matthew Syed, the author of Black Box Thinking, who said  “Marginal gains is not about making small changes and hoping they fly. Rather, it is about breaking down a big problem into small parts in order to rigorously establish what works and what doesn’t.”

John Gostling’s point is that awareness of the problem, and the need to address it, is the first building block in the defensive wall we all need to build. So, begin with training. It will help your staff become aware of the threats. It will engage them.

Next, build a wider awareness of the risks that phishing emails and other socially engineered attacks represent.

Successful businesses grow, and as they do so their IT systems grow and develop with them.  As a company upscales its cyber security should be enhanced at the same time. Being one step ahead is vital if a business is to continually improve its defence.

Given Norwich City’s promotion to the Premier League it’s tempting to develop that reference to defence into a sporting metaphor. Certainly one of John’s inspirations is Grant Holt.

“His ascent’, says John, “from a number of non-league clubs to being awarded the ‘Player of the Year’ for three consecutive years at Norwich City, helping them achieve back-to-back promotions, is the sporting embodiment of inspiring”. 

Consistency, a relentless attitude, serious training and a well thought out strategy (not to mention an excellent defence) are as vital to your cyber  security as they are to a football player, or club. So too is the teamwork. Everybody has a role to play.

With so much material potentially vulnerable to unauthorised access it’s vital that a business has a preplanned approach to the security of its systems. A cure is often too late, and falls short of the ‘marginal gains’ test set by Matthew Syed. Prevention is the only sensible option.

And the best prevention? It’s that wall of defence. A wall built from awareness, staff engagement, training, adaptability as the business upscales and constant vigilance.

They are the building blocks - use them. Before it’s too late.

We’d love to hear your views on the issues facing business today. If you want your thoughts expressed in this column let us know.


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