By Lyndon Broad >>

CYBERSECURITY is a hot topic. Businesses of all sizes are becoming acutely aware of the damage caused by data loss, leakage and theft.

They are aware of the threat posed by malicious intrusions such as denial of service attacks and ransomware infections.

Business leaders know they need to develop strategies based on technology, processes and education to mitigate these risks. Yet many fail to make the link between digital and physical risks.

Protecting business systems from unauthorised physical access is a vital first step in preventing malicious or inadvertent damage. 

To properly mitigate cyber risks, it makes sense to adopt an engineering-based approach. This should include three levels of cyber-risk assessment – physical, information security and industrial control systems.

SHUTTING THE DOOR

So while businesses must be alert to the risks presented by high-profile ransomware attacks like WannaCry and Petya, or employees opening emails containing malicious code, they should also be shutting the door on unnecessary physical exposure.

A recent story in the Seattle Times highlights the cyber risks posed by physical breaches. Washington State University warned a million people that their personal data may have been accessed by thieves who stole a safe.

This contained a backup drive used by the university’s Social and Economic Sciences Research Center.

FM Global is developing a risk assessment framework to cover all aspects of cyber security risk. We currently conduct physical assessments on all commercial and industrial properties we insure, supplemented with a digital security risk assessment which is about to be released.

We’ll start assessing industrial control system risks in 2018. Our analytics team is working with external cybersecurity experts to gather intelligence and develop this comprehensive framework.

The FM Global research team then apply our proven loss-prevention approach to create thorough account-level cyber-risk assessments.

Our approach extends beyond providing insurance coverage that helps clients manage risk. We also provide coverage for loss of business due to a cyberattack. 

For example, if a large manufacturer’s industrial control systems fell victim to a malware attack, we would cover loss of production as well as the hardware damage.

COMMON MISTAKES

We have recently started physical assessments of cyber risk at client premises. These have revealed a number of common mistakes that are easily prevented:   

  • Having a network port on a door intercom.
  • Unsecured server rooms.
  • Server racks installed in open areas.
  • Easily accessible cables and ports.
  • Data backups stored in accessible areas.
  • Infrequently used building entrances that are unsecured.

Our in-depth research and physical assessments show how the physical component of cyber risk is often overlooked.

This exposes companies to considerable financial and reputational damage.

We encourage all businesses to evaluate the physical risks inside their doors and implement solutions to protect their future.

  • Lyndon Broad is the operations manager at FM Global, a business insurance, loss prevention and risk management organisation that uses engineering rather than actuarial principles to help protect organisations.

www.fmglobal.com.au

LYNDON BROAD is the operations manager at FM Global, a business insurance, loss prevention and risk management organisation that uses engineering rather than actuarial principles to help protect organisations.

RESEARCH from Australia Post shows Australians are increasingly shopping online – and mainly from local retailers.

Australia Post’s second annual Inside Australian Online Shopping Report showed online sales surging more than 11 percent in the past year.

The report, which draws on all of Australia Post and subsidiary StarTrack’s customer and delivery data, showed online shopping sales soared 11.5 percent in 2016 compared with 2015, and domestic retailers accounted for 79 percent of the total online spend. 

Australia Post's general manager of eCommerce and international, Ben Franzi, said Australians' love of fashion and department/variety store items continued, with the two categories accounting for more than half of all online sales.

“Price, range and convenience are the three main reasons why consumers shop online, and why growth rates remain strong,” Mr Franzi said. “Online shopping empowers people to shop at a time that suits them.

“Almost one third of all online purchases were made from 7pm to10pm, while 18 percent were made from 2pm to 5pm. Australians are increasingly using their smart phones to shop online, with purchases made from a mobile device growing 52 percent.”

Other popular items included personalised goods, which grew 28.2 percent. Mr Franzi said more online retailers were offering shoppers the ability to co-design and add their own personal brand to products such as watches, handbags and other accessories.

Point Cook in Victoria was the number one buying location for the second consecutive year, reporting 13.2 percent growth, followed by Toowoomba in Queensland (7.6% growth)  and Liverpool in NSW (15% growth).

Mr Franzi said Australia Post and StarTrack combined delivered more than four billion items to 11.6 million addresses across the country annually. Mr Franzi said the data provided critical information for businesses looking to get ahead in a tough retail market.

“Here in Australia we know the online shopping industry is about to be disrupted, and retail as we know it won't ever look the same,” Mr Franzi said.

“The Inside Australian Online Shopping Report is a powerful tool to help businesses understand their existing and potential customers better, so they can create targeted offers and grow their sales by giving consumers what they want based on facts and data.”

www.startrack.com.au/ecommerce.

Top 10 online shopping buying locations and annual growth:

Point Cook +13.2%

Toowoomba +7.6%

Liverpool +15%

Gosford +12.8%

Cranbourne +17.6%

Hoppers Crossing +16.8%

Mackay +1.7%

Mandurah +4.8%

Baulkham Hills +21.1%

Campbelltown +13.7%

*Results are from the 2016 calendar year compared with the 2015 calendar year.

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