Technology / #TEISS16: Cyber security ‘nearly as important as health and safety’

#TEISS16: Cyber security ‘nearly as important as health and safety’

Information security is now nearly as important as health and safety for businesses, according to an industry expert.

Seamus DoyleSpeaking to Business Reporter ahead of The European Information Security Summit 2016, Northern Ireland Water CIO Seamus Doyle said robust security measures could no longer be left by the wayside in the name of increased productivity.

“When I am talking with some of my senior colleagues, it is not quite as serious as health and safety but it is the next step down,” he said. “Companies have long since moved past sacrificing health and safety for productivity. It is not an acceptable way to do business and people are moving to the same mind set with cyber security.”

In a world where cyber security holds such importance, it is vital that companies categorise data and protect it accordingly to ensure they are as secure as possible.

“It starts with the risk analysis and depends on the company and the industry that you are in,” he said of choosing how many data security levels a firm should have.

Although as a non-departmental public body Northern Ireland Water uses the government’s four security levels, Doyle said in practice it only uses “two or three” categories of protection.

“We try to keep the different ways of treating data quite simple,” he said. “We emphasise in training with our staff what sensitive personal data is and what that is not.”

To highlight the importance of the security of medical information, for example, Doyle said he asks staff whether they would like their mothers’ medical records to be made public.

Like many information security professionals, he said he works with the attitude that it is not “if”, but “when” a cyber attack will take place.

For this reason, ensuring data itself is properly protected is as important as securing the perimeter against cyber criminals’ efforts.


See Seamus Doyle speak alongside other industry experts at The European Information Security Summit 2016, taking place next month at Etc 155 Bishopsgate in London.

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