Business

Digital attacks a 'real risk' to NI economy warns cyber security expert

Professor Nola Hewitt-Dundas, head of Queen’s Management School, Ciaran Martin, chief executive of the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) and keynote speaker, John Hansen, partner in charge at KPMG in Northern Ireland and Professor John McCanny, director of the Institute for Electronics, Communications and Information Technology (ECIT) at Queen’s University Belfast.

A LEADING cyber security expert has warned that digital attacks are a "real risk" to economic wellbeing in Northern Ireland.

Delivering the Queen's Management School and Chief Executives' Club annual KPMG lecture Ciaran Martin, chief executive of the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) urged local organisations to no longer live in fear of attack.

“For too long, cyber security has been shrouded in mystique and fear - that's not helpful," Mr Martin said.

"The most important thing leaders of organisations can do is to stop being afraid of the problem and try to understand it instead. Put simply, attacks are about return on investment, and cyber defence is about risk management and harm reduction. Digital attacks are a real risk to economic wellbeing in Northern Ireland and its citizens. They can cause widespread disruption to individuals, companies and public services."

Acknowledging the "great work" already taking place in Northern Ireland in relation to cyber security Mr Martin called for a collaborative approach to tackle the issue.

"We need strong partners across the whole of Northern Ireland society to combat the threat. That's the way to make Northern Ireland one of the safest places to live and do business online."

Partner in charge, KPMG in Northern Ireland, John Hansen said this year's lecture was timely given the significance of cyber security to local business.

“Our recent CEO Outlook Report revealed that cyber security is a key issue for business leaders in Northern Ireland. CEOs are moving beyond a generic view of cyber risk and are taking steps to become more cyber resilient by developing risk, resilience and mitigation plans in the parts of their business that could be most seriously affected."

Professor Nola Hewitt-Dundas, head of Queen's Management School, added: “Cyber security threats are fast becoming a major global and national issue for all organisations and businesses. This annual lecture series is one way that the Management School is working in partnership with KPMG to equip businesses to respond to serious technological challenges."

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