Industry experts to talk at cyber-security conference

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GCHQ’s first cyber chief, security experts and an ‘industry maverick’ will be in the Island next month as Jersey marks Cyber Security Awareness Month for the first time.

The series of events gets under way on 4 October with the Channel Islands Cyber Security Conference at the Pomme d’Or Hotel. Joining Deputy Chief Minister Kirsten Morel on the platform will be Marcus Willett, a former cyber chief at GCHQ and current senior adviser at the International Institute for Strategic Studies.

Fellow speakers include security entrepreneur Ken Munro, who is widely considered to be an ‘industry maverick’, the chief executive of the UK Cyber Security Council Simon Hepburn, the Government of Jersey’s chief information security officer, Stuart Powell, and Cyber Emergency Response Team director Matt Palmer, whose team has worked with the Channel Islands Information Security Forum to organise the conference.

‘Following Cert.je’s formation last year and the increasing cyber risks that we are facing following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, it is more pertinent than ever that we raise the profile of cybersecurity by taking part in next month’s global awareness month,’ said Mr Palmer. ‘Engaging businesses and organisations with cybersecurity is vital, as we cannot secure Jersey by ourselves. Cyber is a notoriously difficult area to manage but, through the workshops and events planned next month, we aim to give people the tools they need to respond to the threats that all local businesses are facing.’

Having worked with organisations including Jersey Business, Jersey Finance, the Jersey Financial Services Commission, the Government of Jersey and Digital Jersey, Cert.je has developed a series of events designed to give directors, IT professionals and entrepreneurs the guidance and support needed to protect their businesses against attack.

‘A lot of people do not realise that local businesses are attacked every week,’ Mr Palmer added. ‘While cyber is a hugely complex area – and one which can be tempting to ignore for that reason – you have to ask how dependent you are on your systems and data and then imagine how you would survive if you had to rebuild everything from scratch.

‘Through our range of conferences and incident response workshops, all of which are aimed at different sectors of the business and third-sector community, we aim to help people understand the threat to their business, the steps they can put in place to reduce the risk of an attack and the confidence to be able to respond effectively in the event that their systems are hacked.’

Acknowledging that levels of security were ‘varied’ across the Island, Mr Palmer stressed that every business had a responsibility to implement appropriate safety measures.

‘It is vital that every business and organisation steps up and ensures they have the right level of security and confidence to tackle cybercrime, and that they are willing to share their experiences so that we can all benefit and protect each other,’ he said. ‘While there are pockets of good practice, we have a long way to go to reach the levels you might expect to see. Next month’s events are a critical part of helping businesses along that journey.’

Each event is free to attend and the full programme, together with registration details, is available from cert.je/events.

A full interview with Mr Palmer is on pages 40 and 41.

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