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Wake-up call for CFOs at PageGroup’s CFO Breakfast Meeting: Cyber security is important, but not yet highest priority

Amsterdam, 21 May 2015 - The theme of cyber security has not yet made it into the top 3 priorities for CFOs, who also say they have not yet faced many cyber attacks. These findings and more emerged today at the CFO Breakfast Meeting, organised by PageGroup (Michael Page, Page Personnel and Page Executive), moderated and presented on BNR & RTL by Rens de Jong. More than 40 CFOs of Dutch companies attended to discuss cyber security.

However, Pim Cornelissen, CSO and cofounder of cyber security company RedSocks, indicates that 70% of all cyber attacks are successful, and that hacker activities often go unnoticed for up to a year: “When that happens, the question isn’t whether you’re being hacked, but how long it has been going on.” He took CFOs on a whistle-stop tour of the world of hackers and cyber attacks and discussed the preventative measures that can be taken. It’s not just financial data, such as credit card details that are at risk: cyber security also concerns personal data, such as patient files, intellectual property and R&D data, which professional hackers and cyber criminals steal and sell.

More than financial damage
Cyber security is a present and daily threat. The cyber attack on Sony ensured that secret company data ended up on the street. Due to similar attacks, bank websites were unavailable for hours and various businesses had to send their employees home for days. In addition to financial damage, the organisation’s reputation and business continuity are jeopardised. That is why CFOs urgently need to put these security issues on the strategic agenda.

A wake-up call
Michel Verduin, Director Business Development at PageGroup: “Cyber security is becoming an urgent priority. Moreover, new regulations will accompany the Mandatory Notification for Data Breaches Act, an addition to the Personal Data Protection Act, which can impose fines of up to €1 million or 2% of turnover in the event of non-compliance. The fact that this issue is covered during the auditing process, and that CFOs will see its effects on their administrative liability is a clear wake-up call for all CFOs.”

Digital makes it harder
Gert Jan Schol, RedSocks advisor and former VP EMEA at Pinkerton Risk Management Services: “In the new world, some physical crimes are now transitioning to the digital field. This makes it increasingly difficult to identify the perpetrators and attackers through traditional security, and necessitates strong cyber security.”

Cyber security is no longer solely an IT issue that can simply be directed at the CIO. Today, it involves the entire organisation. CFOs now recognise the need to become proactively involved in this issue.