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Creating a security culture is vital

Jakob Scharf, Head of PET – the Danish Security and Intelligence Service, was guest speaker at PA Consulting Group’s Executive Seminar on 21 March. Jakob explained that Danish companies are exposed to security threats both from the inside and from the outside. He urges Danish companies to evaluate potential safety risks and to create a security culture within their organisations that encompasses all employees, including management.

”Top-level management needs to create a trustworthy security culture that is rooted in all levels of the organisation. Security shouldn’t be regarded as a set of rules that no one takes seriously; it should be used to make management and employees better at handling a crisis,” says Jakob Scharf.

“Many employees use their company smart phones to check important e-mails and access confidential data. Even though sensitive information is not suitable for a phone, accessing it in this way is custom in many Danish companies because the smart phone technology opens fantastic opportunities. But this is also the reason why you need to protect company data and be aware of the security risks,” says Jakob Scharf.

Security must be integrated in the company culture

Data needs to be protected on different levels, says PA’s security expert Søren Knudsen:

”Sometimes companies are unsure as to what really constitutes a risk. But they need to ask themselves whether they can do without essential client information, or what will happen if they all of a sudden lose all of their data. Companies underestimate the classic industrial espionage, which can be difficult to uncover. Companies may also be a target simply because they are a Danish company – which is why security is essential. However, protection against threats must not become a factor that constrains productivity nor reaction time,” says Søren Knudsen.

He continues: “Companies need to categorise their security. Simply adding a firewall or asking employees to change their passwords is not enough.”

Jakob Scharf urges Danish companies to focus on those assets which are the most important to protect:

“One of PET’s most important tasks today is to protect people, companies and infrastructure. Similarly, Danish companies need to analyse their critical information. The threat from cyberspace is an integrated part of industrial espionage, which is why Danish companies need to work with their vulnerability and decide what is critical to their business,“ says Jakob. 

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