Stifle ‘lazy’ hackers by being alert

Tech industry experts are urging business leaders to be alert to the threat of hacking, saying it’s not a matter of if, but of when.

At a panel discussion in Sydney this morning, hosted by the Australia and New Zealand Recycling Platform (ANZRP) – a non-profit organisation dedicated to promoting the recycling of electronic waste – attention was focused on how businesses of all sizes are making basic mistakes when it comes to data protection.

“Hackers are particularly lazy … unless they have a particular beef with your company,” said Angela Bunting, vice-president of eDiscovery at Nuix.

“You’ve got to think like a hacker.”

Panelists agreed that even the most expensive, secure IT frameworks and technologies are vulnerable to basic human error, which is the area most commonly exploited by hackers.

One used the example of the door to a secure data room being held open by a rubbish bin, while another recounted the example of a company with cutting-edge digital security systems in place, but with boxes of hard-copy files left unattended in the reception area.

Keran McKenzie, platform evangelist at MYOB, added that there is often a failure to adapt security processes over time.

He said business owners often bring in new technology and think they are covered, but “they fail to look retrospectively at their old tech, and it’s that old tech that is vulnerable”.

However, SME operators shouldn’t think they are alone in the struggle to maintain data security and privacy.

“Organisations large, medium and small all struggle with this issue of risk,” said independent consultant Rob Livingstone.

He recommended businesses run a ‘fire drill’, in which all sensitive data would be made public to see how the problem could be dealt with, and use the results to develop an instant response plan.

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