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Data Security Paramount In Channel Islands' Asia Push

by Jason Gorringe,, London

03 December 2012

Channel Islands financial services providers must ensure that they have robust information security safeguards in place to attract more business from emerging markets, particularly in Asia, after a recent survey found that businesses globally are over-estimating the strength of their security frameworks.

PwC's 10th annual survey on the "Global State of Information Security" featured interviews with 9,300 top-ranking executives from 128 countries. 68% of businesses are confident of their organization's information security activities, while 42% considered that their organization implements industry-leading standards in the area.

However, PwC found that only 8% of companies have each of the following: a chief information security officer or equivalent in place; an overall information security strategy; periodic reviews of the effectiveness of their security in the last year; and an understanding of exactly what types of security events have occurred.

The survey in fact found that most organizations are keeping looser tabs on their data today than in past years, despite a marked increase in hacking activities and data leakages. For instance, fewer than 35% of respondents said they had an accurate inventory of employee and customer personal data.

Nick Vermeulen, Head of Advisory Services at PwC Channel Islands, observed that the Channel Islands must keep pace with Asia, which currently leads the world in security practices and performance (being rated particularly highly for mobile security initiatives and cloud security strategy), now that the territories intend to target the region with their financial services offerings.

Vermeulen commented: “This trend is highly relevant for our finance industries locally, which are affected by the global shift of capital flow to the east. We need to factor in the expectations these markets will have around how we do business with them. If Guernsey and Jersey are to succeed in building strong relationships with them, we need information security that meets or exceeds their own standards. There will also be a high benchmark set for us to reach on every aspect of how we use digital technology to communicate and do business."

He added: “There is also an urgent need for both islands to have strategies in place for developing a digital economy. We must ensure businesses operating from our islands have all the support they need both to get the basics right and transform their businesses to a digital model and prosper.”

Matthew Parker, Risk Assurance Manager at PwC Channel Islands, added: “This survey emphasizes just how important it is for organizations to ensure their boards grasp the risks to the business and the steps needed to manage them. There is an opportunity to maximize the investment made in managing these risks by thinking of information security as both a means to protect data and an opportunity to create value for the organization. Establishing a Chief Information Security Officer role should be a major priority for most organizations.”

TAGS: investment | business | offshore confidentiality | commerce | financial services | international financial centres (IFC) | Guernsey | Jersey | offshore | internet | e-commerce | standards | services

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