The recent cyber-attack on the NHS has shown just how exposed many of us are to the threat of cyber terrorism.
In a few hours one of our national institutions was on lockdown. So how do you ensure that the threat or any other threat in the future is kept at bay from your server and files?
Ransomware is one of many things that can hit a business and an individual in the Cyber World. New things are being thought of all the time.
There will of course be more demands for someone to do something to stop this sort of thing. A lot is being done internationally, nationally and regionally but the hard reality is we all need to shoulder some of the responsibility as individuals and businesses.
As individuals we are all told to manage our passwords and accounts responsibly, the government, the banks, social media, and others continually remind us. How many of us really take this seriously?
As businesses and organisations we are also guided, the UK government in consultation with experts launched a suggested set of five key things to do to protect a business and called it Cyber Essentials.
This is a good practical start, and is estimated to protect against 80 per cent of the most common attacks, including this recent one according to the experts.
Also coming down the line are the new General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) that come into force in May 2018.
These govern how data about individuals is collected and managed by businesses and organisations and in addition stipulate that the data needs to have adequate protection.
This points back to Cyber Essentials as a solid place to start. The GDPR has real teeth and following a Cyber Incident the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) can levy fines if security and data protection was not taken seriously enough.
If we look at the physical world as an analogy, we have the armed forces, the intelligence services, and the police who protect us to a large degree at the international, national and local level. However, we still expect to lock our doors, be aware of who and what is around us, take care when crossing roads, i.e. take a sensible approach to basic security and safety.
The world of Cyber is the same, the government institutions can only do so much, we as businesses, organisations and individuals need to do our bit.
It is guaranteed that cyber-attacks will continue and will most likely become more devastating. As bad as the recent one was, recovery appears to be fairly rapid and as yet we have not heard reports of anyone being seriously hurt.
The next one could be far worse, governments and their defence and security teams will be doing their bit. But without businesses and individuals stepping up their game there are gaps in the fence the attackers can get through.