Crime as a Business

How the crime business grew out of recession – Security SIG event

Written by Nick Koiza, Head of Business Development, Security for Plextek 

I was delighted to co-chair the recent CW Security SIG conference – a great event attracting wide-ranging interest from oodles of attendees and eminent speakers across industry and government. The focus was on cyber-crime – something that we haven’t had to deal with historically, and how this has returned the crime industry to growth.

We’re seeing regulators, police and commercial companies facing increasing pressure from criminal businesses, often backed by investment from international governments – so the need to mount an effective defence against such disruptive approaches has become top priority. We examined a number of key issues and explored various options on the day:

Current crime trends

Statistics indicate that traditional crime – namely burglary, robbery, vehicle & other forms of theft have decreased over recent years. However, the increase in cyber-attacks has meant that the crime business has come out of recession and we appear to be losing the battle!

Technology response

The conference clearly demonstrated that a variety of technology options are currently available, including promising solutions exploiting artificial intelligence, machine learning and hardware assisted virtualization amongst others. We were enlightened by interesting speakers from Darktrace and Bromium in this regard.

Business response

Of course, we also need to consider the business case for cyber security solutions and understand the investment landscape, as stressed by a distinguished speaker from Kingsbury Ventures who also delivered important advice on key questions that a board should answer about their business, its assets, its plans and the key risks.

Police response

It was reassuring to learn from the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) about successful initiatives for dealing with cyber-crime and fraud offences in the UK using their existing framework for law enforcement response.

Deep insight into serious organised crime groups targeting businesses was provided by a highly engaging MPS speaker, together with essential guidance on how we should be preparing for such engagement and working collaboratively with international agencies.

Government response

We also obtained the Home Office perspective on challenges facing HM Government. The Director of Security Industry Engagement and Head of Joint Security & Resilience Centre delivered a thought-provoking presentation largely addressing the need for effective collaboration between government and industry.

Concluding thoughts

Although progress is being made, there’s no denying there is much to do in this area if we are to effectively get to grips with what is definitely a growing problem. Our solutions may be becoming smarter but so are the cyber criminals! We need to get better at understanding the mind set of cyber criminals and pre-empt what they may be planning so we can build appropriate solutions.

From a broader security perspective, we shouldn’t ignore the potential for insider threat of deliberate or inadvertent action within businesses. It would also be prudent to consider enforcing measures for extending enterprise risk management to include organizational risk and cyber resilience.

So plenty of food for thought resulting from this super Security SIG conference and I’m looking forward to revisiting progress in this area during a future CW event.

Security SIG event held at Jesus College, Cambridge

Nick Koiza introducing Jane Cannon, Director of Security Industry Engagement and Head of Joint Security & Resilience Centre

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