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'Cybersecurity requires a whole of business approach, and that starts at the board table'

'Cybersecurity requires a whole of business approach, and that starts at the board table'

Wynyard Group CEO Craig Richardson stresses need for Directors to be educated, seek advice and share issues on cybersecurity

The transnational and organised crime economy is growing faster than the world’s economy, increasingly fuelled by cybercrime, prompting calls for New Zealand directors to take charge.

Ranked as the second largest emerging threat facing New Zealand businesses, cybercrime can cause major disruption to critical infrastructure and could be dangerous for people, through the disruption of utilities or critical services.

“The big issue is that directors have to be aware, not just to protect their own company, but their supply chain, customers, investors, intellectual property, industry or trade secrets,” said Wynyard CEO Craig Richardson.

“Hackers are unconstrained by geographical boundaries, are highly entrepreneurial, sophisticated and well-funded. Directors in New Zealand are no longer protected by our geographical boundary, they may be targeted directly, accidental targets or unwitting participants in an attack with their network hijacked and used to facilitate an attack.

“High consequence cybercrime is new area, evolving quickly and quite different to ordinary risk factors directors have had to face before. Directors need to be educated, aware, seek advice and share issues,” said Richardson.

High consequence cybercrime is new area, evolving quickly and quite different to ordinary risk factors directors have had to face before.

Craig Richardson, Wynyard Group

Read more: Privileged knowledge can make directors a high value target for cybercriminals

“We can’t expect chief information officers to be solely responsible for information security," said Richardson, in a statement.

"They don’t determine the business strategy, staff member vetting processes, supplier selection criteria, capital investment priorities or influence the many business decisions that can expose a company to cyber threats. It requires a whole of business approach, and that starts at the board table.”

The Institute of Directors had recently launched the course Leading in a Digital Era on the leadership role boards need to play in being successful in the current business environment.

Institute of Directors Nelson Marlborough branch chair John McCliskie agreed cyber-risk is an enterprise-wide concern.

Read more: ​Challenges arise as big data becomes the ‘new normal’

“We’re living in an era where technology is an integral part of our daily lives, and directors need to consider the strategic opportunities this presents,” said McCliskie.

Send news tips and comments to divina_paredes@idg.co.nz

Follow Divina Paredes on Twitter: @divinap

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