Companies are increasingly reliant on third parties for crucial systems and services, but this brings an increasing list of potential security flaws that could cause huge problems.
This was one of the views to emerge from a panel of experts speaking at hosting firm Rackspace's annual conference in London, Rackspace Solve.
Ethical hacker Jamie Woodruff pointed to an increased reliance on third parties as a reason for the increase in cyber attacks globally.
"As more technology comes out we're ever more reliant on third-party vendors. Look at how APIs work, and how we feed them into third parties. That's a potential way in to the corporate network," he said.
Woodruff pointed to the successful attack on US retailer Target in which the personal data of 110 million customers was stolen. The hackers chose one of Target's third-party suppliers, a refrigeration company, as their way in.
Brian Kelly, chief security officer at Rackspace, added: "The scope and volume of attacks is increasing. [Hacking] tools are easier to use, and readily available on the [dark web], so more participants are finding it easier to get into."
However, Kelly explained that companies have become more transparent about the attacks they suffer, which gives the appearance that there are more cyber security incidents.
A poll of the audience showed that most agreed with Kelly, and that 89 per cent believed that cyber attacks are increasing.
Tom Macey, head of security and IT policy at Aldermore Bank, reflected this view. "Ninety per cent of organisations say they suffer security breaches. The other 10 per cent probably didn't realise [they were breached] or didn't want to reveal it," he said.
Doug Davidson, global head of cloud security offers and UK cyber security CTO at consultancy Capgemini, pointed out that security is now a headline concern at board level.
"Attacks are definitely on the rise, but the difference is that security is an issue in the boardroom now. Companies are now more open about reporting than they were. They're terrified of the regulations," he said.
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