‘Corporate world makes least investments in cyber security’ | Sunday Observer

‘Corporate world makes least investments in cyber security’

Subram Natarajan
Subram Natarajan

Adopting pre and post solutions to manage and prevent cyber threats is crucial for businesses to survive data breaching which is currently a trillion dollar business globally, IBM Country General Manager Riza Wadood told a round table discussion on ‘Latest Technology and Trends in IT’ in Colombo last week.

“We are in discussion with several Sri Lankan clients who are keen on adopting cyber security solutions to prevent cyber threats,” he said, adding that cyber threats is one of the most talked about topics in the corporate world but it is an area that gets the least attention in terms of investments.

According to cyber security experts the cost of data breaching runs into billions of dollars for businesses world over. A study by IBM reveals that the cost of a data breach has increased 12 percent over the past five years costing around $3.92 million on average. The financial impact of breaches is acute for small and midsize businesses. Companies with less than 500 employees suffer losses of over $ 2.5 million on average.

According to Global Lead for IBM X-Force Incident Response and Intelligence Services Cybercrime represents big money for cybercriminals, and unfortunately that equates to significant losses for businesses. With organisations facing the loss or theft of over 11.7 billion records in the past three years alone, companies need to be aware of the full financial impact that a data breach can have on their bottom line – and focus on how they can reduce these costs.

Another study sponsored by IBM shows that malicious breaches is not only the most common of all forms of breaches but also the costly. Over 50 percent of data breaches resulted from malicious cyber attacks and cost companies $ 1 million on average than those from accidental breaches.

“Every single data breached enabling hackers to gain access to data is costly. What security measures one uses be it an institution or an individual is vital to prevent access to information. Whether one could track a threat and how do you react to threats is an important factor in managing cyber threats,” Wadood said.

Hackers have broken into systems of over dozens of telecom companies and banks across the world extracting large amounts of personal and corporate data. One of the most concerning corporate data breaches so far this year is that of the American Medical Collection Agency, a health-care-related debt collector which had around 7.7 million customers whose data had been exposed.

IBM Chief Technology Officer India/SA, Subram Natarajan said today hacking is no longer by an individual but by the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI). “Data can be used for good and bad purposes as well as hackers who do it to gain benefits. Hackers are opportunistic and smart in their clandestine operations. They are one step ahead of all cyber security measures,” he said.

Elaborating on AI which also refers to augmented Intelligence, Natarajan said all business solutions in the future will be based on AI.

“AI is being looked at seriously by Sri Lanka through the Sri Lanka Association of Software and Services Companies (SLASSCOM),” he said.

AI is the ability of a computer program to think and learn. It is being used by supply chain managers and retailers around the globe to enhance business opportunities and understand issues affecting businesses. Innovation made possible through Internet has brought AI closer to every ones lives.

However, it is not without challenges. AI can only augment human intelligence. It cannot replace it. Lack of transparency, interpretability in decision making, quality of data, accountability and safety and security implications are some of the concerns of the use of AI.

IBM, a 100-year-old company with strong reach across many countries has been in existence in Sri Lanka since 1962 with clients in the insurance, banking and telecom sector.