Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Wake-up call to business: tighten up on information security

Britain’s economic progress at risk because the enterprises on which it depends are not doing enough to stop cyber crime and human error from damaging or even hi-jacking the vital business information, according to research funded by the Economic and Social Research Council. Companies confusing Information Technology with Information Security need to rethink their strategy.

According to the Department of Trade and Industry there are 4.5 million businesses in the UK of which 99.3% are small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs), employing 0-49 employees. These comprise 58.9% of the total workforce of 24.4 million and account for 51.9% of the £2,600 billion UK turnover. Bruce Hallas, a specialist in information security, said “SMEs are particularly prone to poor or even non-existent information security.

As awareness of the importance of information security increases, the SMEs stand to lose competitiveness, potentially losing contracts with existing clients and suffering the financial consequences that are increasingly arising from information security incidents.”

An over reliance on Information Technology (IT) has developed over recent years. According to Hallas, this is the result of confusing Information Technology with Information Security (IS). With ‘insufficient’ money to invest in expensive information security expertise, many SME’s are investing heavily in IT in the mistaken belief that IT will ensure IS. “Yet the largest business drivers for security investment are contractual, regulatory, market pressures from consumers, corporate clients and the public sector. Not the typical domain of IT. The biggest security vulnerability lies with people,” Hallas says. “Security is about managing the risk from people, both known and unknown, interacting with your information and information systems. It is more about people management than technology.”

Tyler Moore of the Computer Laboratories, University of Cambridge expanded, “Information security is now a mainstream political issue, and no longer the province of technologists alone,” he said. “People used to think that the internet was not secure because there was not enough of the right technology, not enough sophisticated cryptographic mechanisms, authentication or filtering etc. so advanced encryption, public key infrastructure and firewalls were added. The internet did not get any safer,” he added. “In 1999 it became clear that even the latest and greatest technology will not solve all our problems if those who protect and maintain them are not sufficiently movitated. The issue is one of incentives.”

The impact of an under-incentivised workforce can have devastating consequences in business such as denial of service attacks allowing viruses to infect the IT system, hospitals putting access to data above patient privacy, bank customers suffering phishing attacks by poorly designed banking systems.

“Economics can explain many of the failures and challenges in a new way” Tyler Moore said. “As companies are beginning to realise the value of good information security practice so security measures are being used not only to manage the evils of the attackers but also to support the business models of companies.”

Now that the Achilles heel of the information security problem has been identified, companies, especially banks, often fight shy of divulging information about attacks, whether they have been successfully repelled or not because the information concerned may be sensitive.

Help is at hand in the form of a new report “Security Economics and the Internal Market” which outlines police options regarding the economic problems in providing IS.

The report’s first recommendation is for the EU to issue a comprehensive breach notification law to notify consumers when their details have been compromised so they can protect themselves.

For a copy of the brochure please contact:
Kirsty Johnson( email:
Nigel Jones, Cyber Security Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN)
(email :
Kelly Barnett (Tel: 01793 413032 / 07826874166,
Danielle Moore (Tel: 01793 413122, email:

Danielle Moore | alfa
Further information:

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

From ancient fossils to future cars

21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>