Stay safe out there

November 24 is both National and International Computer Security Day.

We probably used to take security for granted. Using the same passwords endlessly – sometimes just ‘password’ as an actual word or a linear series of digits – was pretty much par for the course. To be perfectly honest, security protocols that get in the way of our user experience, slow us down and generally cause us friction, are a bit of a pain.

We’d rather do without that and so some of us have paid little more than lip service to the most basic protection. After all, what could possibly go wrong?

Unfortunately, today there’s a lot that can go wrong. At the very least, most of us receive phishing emails every day. Our social media profiles are frequently hacked. Sometimes our identities are stolen. And we probably all know someone who has fallen foul of a fairly basic hacker tactic and lost money.

AI – for good or ill?

The advent of AI was initially seen as a good thing. Today it’s hitting the headlines for all the wrong reasons. Traditional AI – focused on the performance of specific tasks based on predefined rules and patterns – is giving way to Generative AI which is intelligent enough to create new data that resembles human-created content. Which is pretty amazing, but also rather scary.

We’re at a tipping point. Generative AI can be used for good or ill. There’s so much to look forward to as technology advances. But in the wrong hands, it can be the stuff of nightmares.

Take phishing for example. Many of the phishing attempts we encounter on a daily basis are crude, almost risible, and ineffective. But as AI becomes increasingly sophisticated, it becomes harder and harder to separate the hacker comms from genuine comms. It’s probably easier for the digital native. But even they find the sophistication of today’s hacking challenging. So for the rest of us, the need to always be on our guard is quite exhausting.

Our security requirements continue to ramp up. Hybrid and remote working and the tendency to BYOD (bring your own device) have seen an exponential increase in the attack surface. A raft of unsecured devices well beyond the reach of traditional security protocols cause a headache for many organisations.

Harnessing innovation

We need to match the progress of the hacker and shore up our defences at the same pace. It’s not all doom and gloom. Biometrics – such as fingerprint and facial recognition – have made security protocols easier. Innovation continues to support multi-layered identification and access, with new offerings under research and many patents under submission. Security is big business.

Technology and emerging technology form one of the cornerstones of successful cyber security. But people are also on the defensive frontline and human behaviour is neither uniform nor entirely predictable. Insider threat – whether benign (operator error) or malicious (disgruntled employees for example) – is very real.

Organisations have a duty to protect their employees, their business and their customers from insider threats.  We all need to do our bit to help. Robust cyber security hygiene is key. Some of this is down to the organisation itself – such as configuring firewalls, encrypting data and continuous verification. But regularly changing passwords, always querying unsolicited communications and generally taking care of company property are things we can all do to better protect our corporate lives. And we’d do well to adopt this behaviour in our personal lives too. The hacker does not discriminate.

AI can help us as well as hinder us. It facilitates automation which enables us to outstrip human operator error and speed up basic manual processes. Take Contract Insight for example.

Contract Insight

Contract Insight is our contract management software which enables contract management with a few mouse clicks from the initial supplier or customer onboarding, verification and due diligence through the contract preparation and negotiation to the signed document.

Its flexibility and functionality can help ensure your enterprise meets the changing regulatory standards which are driven by external events. It can also automate common contract workflow processes and streamline them by eliminating certain steps. Put automation to work for you. Contract Insight can free up your people to focus more on the task at hand, and find the time to review their basic security hygiene.

If you’d like to find out more about how Contract Insight can help your business, we’d be delighted to talk to you. Why not get in touch? To find out how contract management software can streamline and secure your operations, contact John O’Brien, CEO of Four Business Solutions, a global business consultancy and software integrator specialising in business process improvement

Contact Four Today