Business and cyber crime

 

Article from an occasional series of topical thought pieces sent by Head of Global Corporates Clare Francis to Lloyds Bank Business Leaders community.

About the author

Clare Francis

Managing Director, Head of Global Corporates, Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking

More than ever, as we navigate through this current period of change and find ourselves with a wide range of new and urgent challenges, we need to ensure that the issue of cyber crime does not slip down the priority list.

At our 2016 Business Leaders Summit, every speech and panel session touched on how digitalisation and hyper connectivity was transforming and disrupting the world of business and challenging our familiar patterns of production, consumption, finance and competition. Hand in hand, business crime has gone digital, yet in our 2016 Business Leaders Survey only 10% of companies put cyber in their top three most significant risks.

I represent Lloyds Bank on the Steering Committee of The CityUK’s Cyber Taskforce. What we are hearing from the security industry and cyber crime experts underlines that businesses are not being sufficiently proactive in the cyber crime race. The idea that the cyber threat comes from lonely geek hackers bent on activism or digital vandalism is now entirely out-of-date. Cyber criminal syndicates are now sophisticated and well organised and cyber crime is evolving as well as increasing. Meanwhile, although this is changing, many organisations are leaving the job of tackling the threat to their IT teams, when it is equally about people and processes. Cyber risk is not always getting sufficient attention or support at Board and senior management level. This is as much a matter of Board governance as any other aspect of risk management, it is time to think differently about cyber threat.

We all tend to think of cyber crime in the form of digital attacks that commit fraud or disrupt operations, cause media storms and damage corporate reputations. However cyber crime in the form of digital espionage can result in the theft of trade secrets, insider information and product information or compromising of negotiations. This can pose existential threats to business. The insidious nature of such cyber espionage is that organisations can be compromised without being aware.

You have been telling us that you would like further opportunities to share experiences and continue the debate on cyber security. In response to this we are planning, this autumn, to hold a series of small discussion dinners and other thought leadership activities with contributions from experts in the field. I hope that many of you and your senior team colleagues will be able to join us. We will be contacting you with details in the coming weeks.

In addition, we have shared with our Business Leaders community a copy of the report ‘CYBER AND THE CITY: Making the UK financial and professional services sector more resilient to cyber attack’. This report was recently published by TheCiTYUK’s Cyber Taskforce, which is chaired by Mark Weil, CEO of Marsh UK & Ireland – many of you will remember Mark speaking at our Summit in February. An electronic version of this report is available here. While this report is directed at the financial services sector, we believe that much of it, in particular cyber checklist, could be relevant to all types of businesses.

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