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Cisco UK chief calls for greater security information sharing

29 Jan 2013
Cisco's Phil Smith

Businesses need to become more open with one another about security issues and the attacks they are facing to help increase awareness and improve defences, according to Cisco's UK chief executive Phil Smith.

Talking to V3 at the firm's Cisco Live event in London, Smith said while there is a move towards greater information sharing, much more needs to be done, especially as the scale of the threat increases.

"There's a good awareness that security is an issue but when you get to cyber [attacks] and attacks on organisations it's not at the level of awareness that it should be," he said.

"The government has done some good work to champion this but there's still a long way to go. We as an industry need to help and customers themselves need to recognise this is extremely serious."

Smith cited issues seen by banks and charity websites when they are targeted by criminals using bot systems as examples of the threats often seen by organisations of all sizes. However, he said that concerns over reputational damage may be stopping more information being shared among the relevant professionals to improve best practice.

"I can understand the reputational issue and that people are concerned about that but we have to recognise that everyone gets hit," he said.

"A lot of issues often come down to procedural errors, rather than technology, so if organisations shared more and you could see the processes that worked, that would help."

Smith said he thought the European Commission's (EC) ideas about introducing mandatory attack disclosure plans were perhaps more extreme than was necessary, but the thinking behind it is correct.

"Unless we treat this as a very serious problem and as an industry, or a group of industries, try and tackle it I think it's going to be very problematic."

Cisco has previously touted its position as a major network provider as a key first line of defence in protecting firms, with the firm's senior vice president of Cisco's Security and Government Group, Chris Young, providing more insight into this strategy during an interview with V3 last year.

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Dan Worth

Dan Worth is the news editor for V3 having first joined the site as a reporter in November 2009. He specialises in a raft of areas including fixed and mobile telecoms, data protection, social media and government IT. Before joining V3 Dan covered communications technology, data handling and resilience in the emergency services sector on the BAPCO Journal

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