Cyber Security: A new dimension for Cyber Expo Ireland

The event returns to the Irish Management Institute in November with a new-look addition: Cyber Conference Ireland

9th June, 2019
Frank Smal from Entrust Datacard & Michael Conway from Renaissance Cyber Security centre, at Cyber Expo Ireland 2018 Pictures: Fergal Phillips

Fraud and cybercrime are costing Irish businesses and the state an estimated €3.5 billion every year, according to some of the world’s top experts in the field. With 49 per cent of companies having suffered an economic crime or fraud since 2016 and trending upwards, it means that economic crime in Ireland is mushrooming faster than anywhere else in the world.

We hear these type of statistics regularly now, but how closely are we listening? Phishing remains a prominent technique for cyberattacks (66 per cent), followed by malware (56 per cent), across all company departments. It is therefore critical that all business leaders are involved in the education and awareness of their staff to mitigate the risk to their business at all levels.

Recognising this need, Renaissance launched Cyber Expo Ireland in 2017, to make it easier for Irish business leaders by bringing the members of the cyber ecosystem together under one roof: vendors, value added resellers (VARs), security experts and end users. Two years on, the brand has gone from strength to strength. For the annual event this November, there is a new addition – Cyber Conference Ireland (CyberConIreland), set up as a direct result of member feedback.

Michael Conway, director of Renaissance Ireland and thought leader behind Cyber Expo Ireland, says: “Members of the Ecosystem were telling us that the Cyber Expo was brilliant from a Solution/Product perspective, but that they could really benefit from more in-depth workshops, expert sessions detailing the ‘how of cybersecurity’.

“Often we make assumptions that business leaders understand the different types of attacks and subsequent risk mitigation options, but the industry is changing at such a phenomenal rate that it’s so difficult to keep up. We believe that the new CyberConIreland will complement the Cyber Expo perfectly and add practical depth to the day for those who need it.”

The CyberConIreland will incorporate world-class content from leading brands embracing and developing cutting-edge technologies across cybersecurity, the cloud, the Internet of Things, blockchain, artificial intelligence and Big Data.

There will be real-life case studies and expert panel discussions across six dedicated areas: analytics/management, identity and rights management, malware, messaging, information compliance and regulation, and MSP (managed service provider) solutions.

The analytics and management module will deep-dive to examine SIEM (security information and event management), SOAR (security orchestration, automation and response) and other analytic management technologies.

Identity and rights management is probably one of the most challenging areas of security, with organisations transitioning to cloud services and mobile devices to cut costs and boost productivity. The focus will include information security policies, target operating models, assessing risk for access management, implementing IT controls, and business education and awareness.

Malware, any type of malicious software, program or file that is harmful to a computer user. The track focus will include malware and destructive malware, ransomware and advanced malware remediation and protection.

Messaging will examine the evolution of email technologies, as well as how to ensure security and privacy with latest technologies, message encryption and integration of document rights into the email stream.

Information compliance and regulation will examine the classification of data, data protection and identification (GDPR, PCI). A recent Hiscox survey of 500 British SMEs (and we assume similar stats in Ireland) showed that 39 per cent still didn’t know who GDPR affects, and 10 per cent didn’t realise that GDPR grants new data access rights to consumers. The data makes it clear that there is always more work to be done to educate some consumers and businesses on what GDPR entails.

The final section of Cyber Conference will be geared more towards VARs: MSP solutions. This is an area that Renaissance have given a lot of focus to recently with the launch of their partnership with ICT Skillnet. They have developed a training programme aimed at helping VARs make the transition from VAR to MSP. The landscape of delivering technology and consuming technology has changed significantly and will continue to do so over the next number of years, so this transition needs to happen and Renaissance believes it is essential to the future wellbeing of a stable IT Channel within Ireland.

The Cyber Expo Team are excited for the possibilities that this new Cyber Conference dimension brings. “We had always a few sessions run by security experts during the Expo,” says Norman Newell, sales director at Renaissance. “However, we have listened to feedback and acted accordingly.

“We are surrounded by this technology all the time, but looking through the lens of a business professional, knowing that you have to act and actually understanding what to do to mitigate risk for your business are two different things!”

This is where the cyber ecosystem will definitely lend a helping hand. The ability to hear case studies of how technology has been applied in different industries, and to speak to multiple security experts on a one-to-one basis for advice, guidance and demonstrations of the solutions - all in the one location and only taking a few hours is a very effective and productive use of time.

Conway says: “What is most productive is being given the tools to respond before true devastating damage can be inflicted. With the stakes rising and the cost of a breach remaining ever more debilitating, governments and organisations of all sizes are having to rethink their cyber strategy. We are all being forced to up our game across the entire threat life-cycle: prevention, detection, response.”

As more and more of our business infrastructure gets connected (IOT/IIOT), Juniper Research’s data suggests that cybercrime will cost businesses a total of more than $2 trillion this year. Subsequently, the estimated amount to be spent globally on cybersecurity by 2021 is expected to reach $6 trillion! This is a game-changer for Irish businesses, but it is expected that they will make this fundamental change in their approach to cyber security, and reprioritise budgets to align with this new reality of our modern society.

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