Cyber security is a hot topic these days. But it hasn’t always been that way. Many contract management professionals will admit that, for a long time, cyber attack was way down the list of priorities.

I’ve worked on a fair few digital transformation projects where cyber security has been an afterthought, often because the customer thinks (mistakenly) that it will hold things up. Or, that the measures they’ve already got in place will suffice.  Here’s something I often hear; ‘the IT team can handle that, right?’

New threats

If that’s what you believe – think again. Earlier this year the Allianz Risk Barometer reported that cyber attacks incidents are now the biggest concern for UK business and the second biggest concern worldwide.

Clearly, that research is spot on. UK businesses face a growing threat from cyber attacks, with the National Cyber Security Centre finding an increase in criminal cyber attacks against UK firms in 2017. Last year was defined by major cyber attacks on both the UK’s Parliament and NHS. Both of these demonstrated how determined bad guys can wreak havoc on an organised system. And that cyber security is everyone’s problem.

NHS held to ransom

The NHS incident was part of the world’s biggest ‘ransomware’ incident. Plenty of us have suffered something similar at home. The criminals send out an email that encourages recipients to click on an attachment. When they do, it releases a virus which locks the files on the computer and asks for payment to release them.

Let loose within the NHS, the malware froze systems across 15 health service organisations. Patients’ operations were cancelled and staff had to use pens and paper to keep things running. The virus spread to 300,000 computers worldwide. China, Russia, India and Ukraine were affected. Operations were disrupted at car manufacturer Nissan, Spanish telecommunications company Telefonica and international shipping giant FedEx, amongst others.

Would you know what to do if something like that hit your business? Is your cyber security up to scratch?

Manage and minimise

The key issues here are to manage and minimise your risk. Good contract management software like Cobblestone’s Contract Insight (which we recommend and install) will do this for you in three ways.

  1. Whether deployed in the Cloud or on your premises, contract management software should keep you up to date with the latest technology and security demands. For example, it should automatically install ‘patches’ to protect you from new malware. This is often part of the maintenance service and it makes security an integral part of your business processes, not just something the IT department handles separately.
  2. Contract management software should help you manage data so that you can minimise impact if the worst happens. For example, if you suffer a data breach, it might be written into some of your contracts that you must inform the supplier/vendor/client. But, because you’re still using a vintage contract management system, you can’t track the obligation and fail to report the breach. The result could be a messy, expensive situation that costs your business dear. When Four Business Solutions first work with a client, we hold a cyber security review to find out where the gaps are in your contract management and how we can help fix them.

Cobblestone’s Contract Insight is our preferred software. It will help you rapidly organise, manage and protect sensitive information.  It has a central contract repository for secure archiving and auditing. Plus, it can alert you to contracts that contain language relating to a security breach, so that if your systems are attacked, you can act immediately.

Meanwhile, if you want to make sure your liabilities with regard to cyber security are clearly defined in contracts, you can insert a standard clause into all your contracts using Contract Insight. It’s easy.

  1. Powerful contract management software will utilise the cloud to offer you maximum protection from cyber attacks. Customers are often anxious about cloud security but this is actually one of the safest ways to store confidential data and information. A good contract management system will give you a central cloud repository to store your information, with encryption to keep it safe. It should also offer back up in case of an emergency.

Contract Insight, offers multi-level cyber security to protect contract records and documents. Additionally, it is infinitely flexible when it comes to in-house security, with access control allowed by person, group, location, business unit or companywide. That has several security benefits, and it also limits the chance for passwords to get stolen or broken. However you view it, cloud security tends to be much more effective than the average measures offered by local server storage.

Contract Insight: security in detail

  • Contract Insight is a state-of-the-art contract management software tool that is easy to use, simple to install and reduces your total cost of contracts.
  • It is a Windows PC based contract management software solution, with systems hosted on Microsoft Internet Technologies, utilising Windows Servers, .NET technologies and Microsoft’s MS SQL Server Database to store and retrieve data faster and more reliably.
  • Security features include dedicated firewalls, monitored ports, monitored logs, backups, failover facilities, private web, private databases and server scans; all with username and password authentication.
  • Cobblestone also provides dedicated Windows or third-party digital certificates such as VeriSign, DigiCert and Thawte as an option. The client-deployed model has an option to integrate security with Active Directory.
  • Contract Insight Enterprise can be either installed on your company’s servers or hosted as a Cloud-based SaaS solution. On-site help is available from our team, or you can allow Four Business Solutions to manage the solution via our cloud deployment. Either way, the result is an extremely high level of security, suitable for most organisations.
  • Our cloud solution fully complies with ISO 27001 certification (Information Security Management Standard), and we keep our standards fully up to date.

If you’d like a free trial to understand how Contract Insight can boost your cyber security, please call us on 0800 6250 025.

John O’Brien is the CEO at Four Business Solutions, global business consultants and software integrators providing business processes improvements in Finance, Supply Chain & Operations, across a broad range of industries.