Dell’s Hansen: It’s Imperative That Every Company Has Cybersecurity Plan

LAS VEGAS — It’s more important than ever for each company to have an effective cybersecurity strategy in place, after a tumultuous year that included the largest publicly-disclosed data breach of all time (Yahoo) and a rise in attacks enabled by the Internet of Things (IoT), cyber experts said at the Cybersecurity Forum held during the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) Jan. 5.

“Every company not only has to have a cybersecurity plan, but it must be communicated to everyone, including the CEO,” Dell Data Security Vice President Brett Hansen said. He added: The modern chief information security officer “needs to be the evangelist that helps business leaders say ‘yes’ to solving security challenges, while meeting business needs.”

During a discussion of this year’s biggest cybersecurity threats and how companies should address them, Hansen and ex-Yahoo! Tech editor-in-chief Dan Tynan agreed on the need to strike a balance that allows security to empower the workforce while protecting company security.

Hansen and the other cyber experts agreed on one key takeaway at the Forum, and that’s the need for urgent action in the cybersecurity sector. The day-long forum, presented by cybersecurity and workforce development company CyberVista, addressed the most critical threats presented by the growing number of connected devices coming to market.

img_1583 Phishing, fraud and identity theft are growing more insidious, but new password protection schemes and multi-step authentication can help, Shape Security CTO Shuman Ghosemajumder said during another panel at the Forum.

Multi-factor authentication, in which a computing system user is only granted access to it after providing several pieces of information that confirm his or her identity, is “absolutely more secure” than just using a password, Ghosemajumder said. But he said multi-factor authentication is also “inconvenient” for everybody.

Regardless, he predicted that multi-factor authentication will become adopted to a greater degree over time. He pointed to biometric authentication, in which fingerprints are used to gain access to iPhones and other devices, as one increasingly popular type of authentication.

Many consumers continue to wonder why hackers would want to gain access to their personal data, but what they don’t understand is that hackers tend to look for any online accounts they can access and take control of, he added.

“The technology innovation on display this week at CES has the potential to change the way our world works,” CyberVista CEO Amjed Saffarini said. He added: “No sooner than these technologies come to market, however, hackers are planning their attacks. The tech industry cannot afford to let cybercriminals stand in the way of innovation and consumer adoption.”

The latest threats are specifically targeting IoT — from connected cars to smart light bulbs and industrial systems — and the only way to successfully navigate a connected world is by designing security at the foundation rather than as an afterthought, the cyber experts agreed.