January 28, 2019

Data Privacy Day sees UK pledge £100m in bid to eliminate cyber threats

By Lucy Ingham

The UK has announced investments totalling £100m to “become a world leader in ‘designing out’ many forms of cyber threats” to coincide with Data Privacy Day.

The plans, announced today by Business Secretary Greg Clark, include £70m in investment to help develop hardware that is more secure from the outset, through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund. It also includes a further £30m to provide additional security for smart systems, including internet of things (IoT) devices.

The focus of the plan is to reduce the security of the growing numbers of smart products and other connected hardware, reducing the onus on consumers and businesses to secure their devices. Such devices currently pose significant security risks, with many shipped without robust protection.

“This could be a real step-change in computer and online security, better protecting businesses, services and consumers from cyber-attacks resulting in benefits for consumers and the economy,” said Clark.

“With businesses having to invest more and more in tackling ever more complex cyberattacks, ‘designing in’ security measures into the hardware’s fabric will not only protect our businesses and consumers but ultimately cut the growing cybersecurity costs to businesses.”

Data Privacy Day sees consumers reminded of their own responsibilities

While the government’s plan is intended to reduce the amount consumers need to worry about data security, Data Privacy Day has seen other experts remind consumers that there are steps they need to take to ensure their data is protected.

“We have all seen large companies hit with fines and lose a significant share price due to data breaches but it doesn’t just stop at enterprise level. I find that the people who have experienced that gut wrenching feeling of losing years’ worth of family photos are the ones that now regularly back up their data,” said Jake Moore, cybersecurity specialist at ESET.

“There seems to be an ‘it won’t happen to me’ attitude amongst so many people these days which is a very dangerous approach should the data be lost.

“There is also a misunderstanding that all data can always be recovered should the worst happen. This thinking can have extremely damaging consequences and therefore we really need to raise awareness around the vast array of threats to data both in industry and to individuals.”

Businesses urged to turn to AI on Data Privacy Day

For businesses, however, the advice is different, in reflection of the vastly increased quantities of data and regulations that companies are now dealing with.

“Unlike a traditional currency, you can’t hand data over to a bank or lock it in a vault. Rather than a bank manager, businesses increasingly entrust their data to the Chief Data Officer. Still, companies live under the constant shadow of stringent regulation,” said Darren Barker, VP & General Manager UK&I at Hitachi Vantara.

“This isn’t a bad thing – imagine today’s world if banks didn’t exist. Yet, while many are anxious about how their data is being used, everyone – individuals and corporations alike – stand to benefit from leveraging insights from their data.

“Hence data protection is more than just a business imperative, it is a social issue. However, the onus is on businesses first and foremost to handle their data responsibly, regaining the trust of a public that is increasingly wary of how their data is used.”

For some, however, the solution lies not in humans, but in AI.

“The use of AI in the consumer space has raised privacy and data protection concerns, however, in the enterprise space it has huge potential for tackling these challenges,” said W. Curtis Preston, chief technologist at Druva

“In fact, as organisations look for additional ways to increase data protection, particularly of more sensitive data, AI is often the answer. It can ensure more thorough backups, faster recovery, and ultimately reduces the risk of data compromise. “