MicroWarehouse Blog

MWH sits down with John Bergin of IT Force

John Moran - Tuesday, July 03, 2018

With IT security on the minds of all business owners of late with the passing of the new GDPR regulations on the 25th of March, MicroWarehouse’s own Rob Driver recently caught up with John Bergin, Managing Director of Dublin based IT Force to hear his views on cyber security and the state of the industry.

Q1: Tell us a little about IT Force and your services? 

We deliver award-winning Managed IT Services and Managed IT Security Services  to our clients. When engaging with any client, IT Force looks beyond simply delivering a service. Our objective is to become a reliable and trusted partner to all our clients. The process involves identifying their needs, understanding their business and the market sector in which they operate. We keep abreast of what is happening in the industry and what the trends are in our vertical markets as well as what is coming down the tracks. We stay informed as to how this will impact our clients and we ensure that they are kept informed.

Q2: What trends in cyber security have you seen in the last two years?

The cyber security industry evolved in many ways over the last two years. Some developments were expected—but others were a bit more surprising.

With attacks reaching ever higher scales and increasing levels of innovation, there seems to be no stop to the cat and mouse game taking place between threat actors and security experts.

Of all attack vectors, phishing remains the most commonly exploited. Malicious emails continue to easily bypass legacy spam filters, firewalls and gateways through increasingly sophisticated CEO fraud and brand spoofing campaigns. Further, due to human nature, unaware or preoccupied users, even those actively engaged in an awareness training program, are lured into downloading an attachment or clicking on a malicious email link to inadvertently provide attackers with access to sensitive corporate networks and data.

As a Managed Service Security Provider, security is obviously very high up on our agenda. We are looking at solutions that gives our end customers the best chance of protection against these types of attacks. Microsoft Office 365 Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) is one of these solutions. It has allowed us secure users mailboxes against more advanced threats, protect users against unsafe attachments and also protect their environment when users click malicious links.

One of the biggest topics not just across IT Departments but whole organisations has been the implementation of the General Data Protection Regulation. While many companies have taken measures to become GDPR compliant we are noticing more companies coming to us who haven’t started on the journey to compliance. This is backed up by a recent study undertaken by MicroWarehouse. The study revealed that over 57% of companies surveyed do not think the introduction of GDPR has made any difference to their day to day operations. We are likely to see this figure decrease as fines start to be handed out for noncompliance of the regulation. 

Q3: What is the minimum level of cybersecurity a company should have?

The number of computer security incidents and the resulting cost of business disruption and service restoration continue to escalate. Implementing relevant security policies, blocking unnecessary access to networks and computers, improving user security awareness, and early detection and mitigation of security incidents are some actions that can be taken to reduce the risk and drive down the cost of security incidents.

Putting a framework of IT policies that should be the foundation of every company's security plan. Security awareness among all staff should be at the heart of any company security strategy. It is crucial to consistently inform all users regarding the impact their actions have on security and privacy. IT Force as a company understand this and have started to offer Cyber Security Awareness Training as a part of our overall Managed Security Services Offering.

Q4: What are the consequences of not having adequate cyber security measures in place?

Cyber security is no longer just a technology issue, it is a business one too. Gone are the days when companies could pass the headaches of cyber security to the IT department, as it has become more of a business issue too. This is especially important as businesses are more digitised, meaning they are exposed to an increasing number of threats if they do not manage the risk of security properly.

Q5: What business sectors do you see as most at risk for cyber-attacks and why?

The Financial Services industry may seem like quite an obvious target – access to investment records, personal savings information, tax records etc. What needs to be kept in mind is that cyber attacks on financial services firms will get more sophisticated as more and more data is now being moved to the cloud. Security vulnerabilities in the financial sector have increased more and more every year. Cyber criminals gaining access to PII data use it to file fraudulent tax returns, directly access funds and credit card information etc.

In response to this, IT Force have specialised in providing advice support on these security issues to the Financial Services Industry in Ireland

Q6: Looking ahead to the next five years, what do you see as being most concerning in cyber security?

The world is changing, and with it so is the internet. Or perhaps it’s the other way around. The internet continues to create new business and social opportunities on a massive scale. The increasing depth and volume of personal and corporate data make it a more rewarding target for cyber crooks and state-sponsored espionage or sabotage. At the same time, greater connectivity provides more potential attack vectors.

This makes industry, governments, and individuals uneasy and unsure how to prepare. 

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