Biopharma giant Wyeth Medica Ireland has become the first company in Europe to be awarded the new information security standard, IS 17799.
The Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern TD, presented the company with its certificate of compliance at a ceremony in Government Buildings yesterday.
Speaking at the presentation, Ahern said, “This is a significant milestone in that it underlines the seriousness with which businesses are now treating information security at board level.
“Wyeth is to be congratulated for adopting a leadership role in achieving IS 17799, which is now recognised globally as equating to best practice in all matters of information security. It is to be hoped that more companies will follow their example. I am also delighted that an Irish certification body, Certification Europe is leading the way in Europe by becoming the first European certification body to award IS 17799.”
Declan Finan, managing director of Wyeth Medica Ireland in Newbridge, commented: “The nature of our business demands that we have the highest levels of information security to protect the interests of both the Wyeth and its customers.”
Wyeth was certified by the Irish standards body, Certification Europe. CEO Michael Brophy said, “The current debate on e-voting is symptomatic of the problems that plague information security. People will always question the trust, confidentiality and integrity that can be placed in any new electronic service, and it is only by adopting the highest recognised standards, such as IS 17799, that they can be satisfactorily addressed.”
He added, “In Ireland we have already seen three Government tenders specifically reference IS 17799, and the level of enquiries received by Certification Europe from Government Departments and private companies show that it will eventually become the norm in both the public and private sectors.”
According to Brophy, the increased interest in the standard is not unique to Ireland. “Worldwide, almost as many organisations were certified to the standard in the last six months as the previous two and a half years,” he said.
Padraic White, chairman of Certification Europe, said that the company was in discussion with many leading Irish companies that realised the business necessity of protecting sensitive and confidential information and wanted to learn about the IS 17799 standard.
“It is worth noting that in the UK, business leaders have been warned by the Department of Industry & Trade (DIT) to give IT security and the achievement of recognised information security standards greater priority, or they may face it becoming a mandatory requirement,” he said.
By Brian Skelly
Padraic White, chairman of Certification Europe (left) with Declan Finan, managing director of Wyeth Medica Ireland