Big Data And The Media

04 October 2016

Citywealth: What should businesses and UHNWIs do to protect themselves from cyber-attacks?

Rachel Atkins:  Build a strong human firewall. While technical defences are critical to an effective cyber security strategy, building higher walls will only result in cyber criminals building taller ladders. You need to focus on the weakest link; people.

In recent years we have responded to a growing number of cyber-attacks against successful individuals and the businesses they manage. While many of these attacks will look to take advantage of vulnerabilities in technology, cyber criminals will start by looking to exploit people. The fact is that like any human being, the perpetrator behind a cyber-attack will want to strike a balance between effort and reward and as such, exploiting human weakness instead of technical ones is easier and potentially more rewarding.

Cyber criminals are increasingly using social engineering to target individuals, so consider simulating a cyber-attack against your organisation and your employees so that you can learn the lessons. Is it safe to click on a link? Is it safe to open an attachment? What happens when I insert this USB stick? If employees aren’t asking themselves these questions then this could result in malware being downloaded onto a machine and an organisations cyber security being breached. Let people discover the risks by simulating an attack on them.

Citywealth: What to do when a cyber-attack occurs?

Rachel Atkins: Don’t panic and alert superiors or relevant colleagues immediately.

Understandably, a data breach resulting from a cyber-attack feels personal; and in most cases it is. As a result, those affected are often overcome by anger and an urge to uncover who’s behind it.

First things first, shut the attack down. Stop access to any further information, work out what has been affected and preserve any evidence. Only once the leak has been contained can you turn your attention to trying to uncover those behind the attack.

Citywealth: Tell us about your tech clients. What are their concerns when it comes to reputation?

Rachel Atkins: As with many clients, the reputation of tech companies is defined by what people think of them. For example, a cyber incident that results in the loss of client data will not only have a direct bearing on their sales but also on how they are perceived in the marketplace. 

Many of our tech clients are also becoming increasingly concerned about theirs and their family’s privacy, especially when we’re able to show them a wealth of private and sensitive information related to them that is readily accessible online.

Citywealth:  Give us the five dos and don’ts of reputation management.

Rachel Atkins:

DO:

  1. Remember that prevention is better than the cure; 
  2. Ensure your own individual reputation as the leader / owner of a business is beyond reproach;
  3. Get your team in place before the crisis breaks – they will work better together if they know each other;
  4. Speak up before being asked;
  5. Make reputation considerations part of business decisions.

DON’T:

  1. Think reputation has no value;
  2. Panic when faced with a reputational issue;
  3. Stick your head in the sand;
  4. Be carefree with your data and information;
  5. Shy away from taking responsibility for your reputation.

Citywealth:  What advice would you give to young women who want to start a career in the legal sector today?

Rachel Atkins: The same as I’d tell a young man wanting to pursue a career in law - go for it. The legal landscape is changing – it’s a real opportunity to broaden your horizons. At Schillings we employ not only top lawyers but also top intelligence analysts, cyber security experts, ex-military strategists and risk consultants. That is why we’re able to predict, protect, defend, attack and contain threats to reputation and privacy. Think laterally, apply yourself and set out to become a problem solver, not just a lawyer.

Citywealth: Tell us the best reputation management story of your career?

Rachel Atkins: Given I’m a reputation and privacy advisor I can’t say too much but what I love most about my job is that I allow successful people to enjoy their success. I’m reminded of a matter I dealt with where I was tasked with ensuring that the press and paparazzi didn’t catch wind of an extravagant party an entrepreneur was throwing. Having successfully maintained a total news and social media blackout, I received an email from the client that simply read: We’re out of here. We had a great time. No paparazzi. Job done! 

Rachel's interview with Citywealth was first published on 30th September 2016. Click here to read the original interview.

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About the Author

Rachel Atkins

Partner

A specialist in safeguarding the reputations of prominent individuals and businesses, Rachel couples her experience in media law with a detailed knowledge of reputation threats that emanate from non-media sources.

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