Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Secure Online - A PR issue



The NCSC - part of intelligence agency GCHQ - says the UK is facing about 60 serious cyber-attacks a month. There were 188 attacks classed by the NCSC as Category Two or Three during the last three months.

We are under attack. This is a PR industry issue as well.

Let me explain...

Here is an example, attacks on the NHS quadrupled in the last four years!

In the digital era, new points of entry are opening up for most business from email to cloud environments, from mobility to applications, from the payment gateway to the data centre and much more.

UK organisations are putting their reputation, customer trust and competitive advantage at greater risk by failing to provide their staff with adequate security training. The law is taking an interest which is a potential reputation issue as Ardi Kolah explains in a paper to Academia.

In response, the UK government’s latest National Cyber Security Strategy requires businesses to have a detailed understanding of the risks to their information systems and raise standards to mitigate them.

This is not just the nation and business, it's PR practitioners and their clients as well. The CIPR and other PR institutions, as well as the recognised undergraduate courses, should be considering their response. We 'must be prepared'. A cyber attack is a reputation issue like Marley's Ghost waiting for every organisation that is not prepared.

Cybersecurity teams are losing the fight against cyber crime and the user education approach has failed, according to According to Ian Pratt, co-founder and president of Bromium. We have to up our game.

We need some PR focused responses.

The launch of NCSC coincided with the Financial Conduct Authority, (a regulatory body of the UK government), granting London-based Blockchain startup Tramonex (a Small Electronic Money Institution) registration. This effectively opens the door for the launch of a Blockchain-based currency within the UK.

The approval of Tramonex marks the first case of a Blockchain technology company receiving an EMI authorization from the FCA.

At the core of this permission is ONLINE SECURITY.

The security is made possible because of the use of Blockchain. Blockchain security can be applied in many ways. Not least, it is a technology to secure the ownership of digital content (described in detail here)

For the PR person, this means there is potential for online security for content such as images, podcasts and other sounds, word content including press releases and, really important, contact reports and briefing.

It is important, for example, to secure email exchanges and Blockchain technologies offer such capability.

This suggests that #CIPR could consider getting a similar licence to Tramonex for Blockchain secured communication by members and recognised by authorities such as the FCA. It would be possible to secure the identity of members.

Working with the leaders in the field, CIPR could register a broad range of secure communications tools. Examples that come to mind are Accenture. But there are many more organisations offering services.

The capability can even extend to Internet of Things PR (more later). IoT consultant, John Soldatos, has written at length about this. He argues that since “The 100.000.000 units of the Bitcoin are programmable and can be linked to digital properties other than currencies such as credits or digital votes. This gives rise to the use of the Blockchain for supporting IoT applications. Instead of auditing the exchange of units of a digital currency, the Blockchain could audit the validity of digital transactions between machines and things."

This form of security is attracting added security from organisations such as BT.

Now is the time for the PR industry to consider digital security.