Cyber Monday – Online surge leads to lost hours and cyber attacks

Monday 2nd December marks 2014’s Cyber Monday; the most active day for online shopping of the year.

Once seen as a US phenomenon following on from Black Friday, recent years has seen a boom in online shopping in the UK, following the US trend. This year, it’s been predicted that more than £500 million will be spent in the UK, topping last year’s £456 million.

Although great for retailers, a study has shown that cyber attacks taking place on Cyber Monday, cost organisations up to £2.1 million per hour in losses. The report issued by RSA and the Ponemon Institute surveyed 1,100 IT staff at retail organisations in the U.S. and UK and found that, despite the average 55 percent surge in daily online and mobile retail revenue taking place on Cyber Monday, and 64 percent of organisations seeing significant increases in attacks, 70 percent do not take additional precautions.

Sixty-six percent of respondents also admitted that disruption would result in customer churn that would damage reputation and brand.

The top nine scenarios organisations will likely face approaching Cyber Monday include:

•           Botnet and Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS)

•           App Store Fraud

•           Mobile Access/Account Compromise

•           Click Fraud

•           Stolen Credit Card Validation

•           eCoupon Abuse

•           Account Hijacking

•           Electronic Wallet Abuse

•           Brand Promotion Hijacking

Demetrios Lazarikos, IT Threat Strategist, RSA, explains that, “While the findings here are admittedly shocking, they underscore an age-old issue in that budgets and business dynamics perpetuate vulnerability and keep organisations behind the eight ball. However, all is not lost. Forward-thinking organisations that have the agility to break from the status quo and embrace innovation can not only better protect their business, but also gain a massive advantage. Reducing losses from fraud and increasing trust in the brand can propel a business ahead of its competitors.”

So the message is quite clear – don’t let cyber-crime ruin your Christmas cheer. Retailers take note, now is the time to make sure you’re protected or you could face a tough start to the New Year.

How mature is the UK? Results of the Global IT Trust Curve Survey

“The four big megatrends in information technology today are cloud computing, Big Data, social networking and mobile devices. Adoption and maturity of these trends must float upon a sea of trust” says David Goulden, EMC President and Chief Operating Officer. Goulden refers to the trust that information is secure in the cloud, trust that data won’t be lost or stolen and trust that IT will be operational at all times. The impact of the four megatrends can be boosted or limited by the trust in IT, meaning that the IT maturity of each country will have an effect on their overall ability to compete.

Yesterday morning EMC hosted a UK media roundtable in central London where Rashmi Knowles, RSA chief security architect, and Mark Galpin, Senior Manager EMEA Product Marketing at EMC discussed the results of an independent, global survey spanning 3,200 influential decision makers across 16 countries and 10 industry sectors. Dave Cripps, CISO at banking and asset management group Investec also attended, providing insights into what IT strategies and infrastructures are being deployed within companies and governments throughout the world, as well as discussing how the UK ranked against each of the countries according to their IT maturity that took part in the study. One key point of discussion highlighted the alarming finding that a seeming lack of confidence exists amongst senior executives with regards to the ability of their IT infrastructure to provide continuous availability, advanced security and integrated backup and recovery. Cripps added to this that the security industry was failing businesses by selling fear, uncertainty and doubt.IT Trust Infographic

This lack of trust and confidence is problematic as it may lead to reduced investment, which is crucial to achieving a mature IT infrastructure. Mature IT allows organisations to better withstand and recover quickly from disruptive incidents, such as unplanned downtime, security breaches and data loss. The occasional setback may still occur, however more can be avoided and recovery is quicker and with fewer consequences. Therefore it is important for organisations to adopt progressive strategies in order to achieve Trusted IT infrastructures. A key factor is to not only invest in technology however, but to also invest in training staff. Rashmi Knowles pointed out that the biggest security threat these days is people themselves, whereby education plays a crucial role: “Security is about people, process and technology. It’s all of those things, not just technology.”

So, how well are we faring in the UK? The UK ranked eighth – out of 16 – in maturity on the IT Trust Curve, with China clinching the #1 spot for having the highest concentration of sophisticated continuous availability, advanced security and integrated backup and recovery technologies. According to Knowles, this is partly due to their belief that they have all the right systems in place, as well as the fact that many of the obstacles that exist for other countries, such as a lack of resources, skilled workforce and budget, are currently not an issue for China.

You can view the complete details of the survey here, and below we’ve listed a number of the key findings from the survey.

  • More than half of the respondents fall into the lower maturity categories, whereby the higher the level of maturity, the more likely organizations are to have already implemented strategic and leading-edge technology projects such as Big Data Analytics.
  • There is a drastic lack of confidence in technology infrastructure, with almost half of all respondents – 45% overall, 46% in the UK – responding that their senior executives aren’t confident that their organizations have an adequate IT infrastructure in place. Further, just under one in five respondents – 19% globally, 18% in the UK – state an overall lack of trust in their technology infrastructure.
  • There is a divide within organisations as to how a future resilient and secure IT infrastructure can be achieved, with many more IT decision makers than business decision makers considering the IT department to be the motivation and drive for this.
  • Budget constraints remain a problem, being highlighted by 52% of respondents globally as the #1 obstacle to implementing improved IT infrastructures. In the UK this figure even rises to 57%, with other constraints including resources and/or workload constraints (48%), culture (flexibility, acceptance) (35%), and knowledge & skills (30%).

The global research and spokespeople form EMC and Investec all agreed on one thing. A lack of trust in IT is likely to prevent necessary investments in IT to ensure the IT infrastructure is able to withstand disruptions and threats, which can only lead to a continued, vicious circle of lack of Trust in IT and low IT maturity, severely impeding progress. This survey has demonstrated that many countries are lacking, both in IT maturity and trust in IT, so although there are also other obstacles too, Trust in IT is a crucial issue when it comes to secure and resilient IT infrastructures in the future.

Cancer Research wins Computer Weekly Storage Award

Screen Shot 2013-11-07 at 17.27.42Computer Weekly recently announced that EMC customer Cancer Research UK (CRUK) has been chosen as the winner in the private sector category of its European User Awards for Storage. Announced at the end of the summer, the awards recognise innovation in data storage projects that improve storage efficiency and effectiveness and it’s great to see that Cancer Research has been singled out for its innovative projects.

EMC has worked with CRUK for a number of years and the long-term relationship and ongoing developments has dramatically improved the charity’s ability to reduce IT budgets, increase performance and increase targets. In addition, it has improved employee day-to-day IT experiences through faster access to data, reducing the marketing cycle time, improving fundraising ability and supporting mobile working through a more resilient and accessible system. The IT team has taken significant steps to implement innovative technologies, most recently incorporating EMC XtremSW and SF Cache®. These have immediately improved storage utilisation, access to data, enabling more efficient fundraising activities. In addition there are reduced running costs and an expected return on investment within 18 months for the entire implementation.

A major advantage has been provided to CRUK’s marketing team which used to take between four to five hours to run a marketing cycle but, using XtremSW Cache, this has reduced to 18 seconds. This means the charity can better attune campaigns to target key audiences and directly increase fundraising generation.

In only a matter of months, the team can report tangible benefits back to the business. Already, the organisation has increased throughput four fold – marking a significant step forward.

Ahead of the awards, Michael Briggs, Head of Infrastructure at Cancer Research discussed how: “As an IT department, our job is to provide our internal ‘customers’ with the reliable and efficient systems they need to work towards delivering Cancer Research UK’s vision to bring forward the day when all cancers are cured. Our previous IT infrastructure didn’t have the necessary storage processing power or flexibility to handle our growing data demands and this resulted in our users experiencing delays we just couldn’t afford. We decided to transform our IT infrastructure using EMC technologies and began seeing the benefits straight away; both in terms of an immediate performance improvement and a reduction in backup time and cost.”

Further information about the awards and other category winners can be found here: