Dubai, UAE: A panel of experts convened by the British Business Group Dubai and Northern Emirates (BBG) has shared the latest advice on cybersecurity best practices amid an emerging trend of increasingly sophisticated attacks. Discussing cybersecurity awareness, education, insurance, and regulation themes, the Business Briefing highlighted the potential impact of online threats and the actions companies can take to mitigate their risk.

Opening the session, Robert Kew, Managing Director of Kew Solutions, and Rupert Walmsley, Managing Director of Resolution IT, provided an overview of recent developments in the cybersecurity landscape. Pointing to technological advances and the shift to remote working, the experts discussed the growing magnitude of cyberattacks. They highlighted how simple solutions like multi-factor authentication can dramatically reduce online threats.

Joining Kew and Walmsley in the panel discussion were Jerome Murray, Cyber Security Consulting Lead at Control Risks, and Simon Bell, Cyber Practice Leader at Marsh Insurance. Moderated by Katy Holmes, General Manager of BBG, the conversation began with insights into the profound consequences cyberattacks can have upon organisations. Citing the 2021 attack on the Health Service Executive of Ireland, Murray explained how the agency’s lack of risk planning compromised the system, bringing down critical diagnostic procedures across the Service.

Discussing the importance of insuring against breaches in cybersecurity, Bell revealed the cost benefits for an organisation with a dedicated policy to cover online threats. He explained, “The actual cost of insurance is negligible when compared with the cost of a breach to a business. In addition to paying the ransom, there are incident management costs and loss of revenue to consider, as well as recovering the brand reputation.”

Exploring the actions that organisations can take to protect themselves, the panel stressed the importance of having policies in place and taking the cybersecurity dialogue to the highest level. Walmsley explained, “One of the biggest challenges is a lack of awareness across organisations. Simple actions like educating employees on what a cyberattack looks like and implementing a company-wide password policy can make a significant difference.”

Stressing the importance of leadership in raising awareness, Murray said, “Cybersecurity strategy needs to be embraced at the CEO level. The optics of how this issue is handled in the C-Suite will help build it into the company culture.” Where the business owner remains disengaged, Kew advised, “The issue needs to be put on the agenda in the context of business continuity. A ransomware attack has the potential to bring operations to a standstill, and leaders need to recognise this as a major threat that can be mitigated with action.” 

Looking to the regulations around cybersecurity, the panel discussed how territory-wide standards and guidelines can help to establish a baseline that improves practices and raises awareness. The conversation concluded with tips from the panel on how SMEs can act on cybersecurity, with recommendations around employee education, operational practices, and professional support services.      

Staged to mark the conclusion of Cybersecurity Awareness Month, the event was sponsored by Kew Solutions and Resolution IT as part of the ongoing BBG Business Briefings series. Speaking about the event, Katy Holmes, General Manager of BBG, said, “Working with the experts in our membership, we have been proactive in supporting the wider membership on cybersecurity. Our business briefing series equips our members with the knowledge and tools they need to operate their businesses in the region and, in this case – build resilience and protect their digital assets”.

About British Business Group

The British Business Group, Dubai & Northern Emirates (BBG) supports British-owned, Dubai-based businesses and UK PLCs at every growth stage. It provides a platform from which to market directly to the British business and expat community. The BBG has built a credible voice in the region with an impressive reach across all social media platforms, including its weekly e-newsletter, with a diverse audience in the UAE, the GCC and the UK. The BBG provides a great exposure opportunity for brands looking to increase their local market recognition. 

Through a considered and strategic calendar of events, the BBG ensures high-quality networking opportunities, market knowledge sharing, valuable engagement opportunities and exclusive experiences for its members.

The BBG has a strong working relationship with the British Embassy, the Department for International Trade, and the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and it is an international member of the British Chambers of Commerce.