Protect the data, forget the perimeter, says PwC security chief (video)

19 Nov 2015

CIOs need to protect the data and stop thinking about the perimeters as determined thieves will find a way in anyway, says PwC's Kris McConkey.

CIOs need to pull back from the perimeter and put in place security mechanisms around the data they are trying to protect, PwC’s partner in charge of cybersecurity, Kris McConkey, has advised.

Speaking with following the PwC Business Forum in Dublin during the week, where the management consultancy giant revealed its latest Digital IQ survey, which included Irish business leaders for the first time, McConkey said the security battlefield has moved on.

“Securing systems is becoming increasingly difficult and the perimeters are dissolving because we all have mobile devices and interconnectivity.

“A lot of organisations are going to be looking at how they secure data, as opposed to the systems, and will focus on keeping data encrypted but only readable by people with the right authority and access levels.”

Cyber warfare has gone mobile

McConkey recommends that tech leaders and CIOs start thinking about how they protect data in this mobile environment.

“But also they need to figure out what kind of data they need to protect and figure out how to protect that better.”

This new security paradigm also means individuals, and not just organisations, are exposed to ruthless hacking that makes use of public Wi-Fi hotspots to steal not only bank details but corporate secrets.

McConkey said there are instances of cyber thieves setting up fake hotspots in cafes close to corporate environments that look like legitimate Wi-Fi points.

“Having things like VPNs in place so that all your traffic is encrypted is a useful safeguard to have in place,” he recommended.

He said that while we have yet to see any significant nation-on-nation cyber warfare, CIOs in charge of industrial environments or public utilities that use SCADA environments need to be vigilant.

“There has been a lot of interest from specific groups of hackers in these areas over the last couple of years.”

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years