The emergence of cyber-attacks and their threat to Jersey businesses was the clear message from a professional seminar hosted by Vantage at the Pomme dOr Hotel on 22nd March 2016.

The seminar was attended by approximately 150 professionals, the majority from the local financial services sectors, with presentations from Richard Packman, CEO of Vantage, Brian Bethell and Arthur Mainja of KPMG, Advocate Vicky Milner of Callington Chambers and Nigel Brand of Sapphire Underwriters.

It introduced the attendees to the increasing danger of cyber risks, measures that can be taken to mitigate these risks, and the legal implications of suffering a data breach.

The main theme from the discussions was that cyber-attacks are not limited to major international conglomerates (such as Talk Talk or Sony) but are now being targeted at SMEs (Small and Medium Enterprises) many of which operate here in Jersey.

Any company that collects, processes or transmits data is at risk, and any business who uses the internet or email can be exposed. Such exposures can have a catastrophic effect on a firm and therefore these risks need to be taken seriously by the board of directors of companies.

The presentations explained that the main threats arise from cyber criminals wanting to hack into a companys system in order to extract valuable customer data for illegal financial gain, but also the more recent phenomenon of ransomware attacks using malicious software designed to block access to a computer system until a sum of money is paid.

The attendees were told that a combination of board of director control, a comprehensive risk management process and insurance protection can assist a local company in surviving a cyber attack.

Richard Packman, CEO of Vantage commented:

Cyber attacks are a real threat to Jersey businesses both regulated entities and those in the Islands other sectors such as tourism and retail. Jersey is a high profile jurisdiction and we cannot think we are immune to criminals targeting what they may perceive as rich pickings from Channel Island businesses. Local company directors need to start addressing these risks to mitigate the risks and look at protecting their businesses. Failure to do so could mean the collapse of that firm from either irreparable reputational damage or complete financial ruin.

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