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Digital security takes center stage at the revamped business festival

The cost of damages suffered by internet attacks and cybercrime is staggering, with Germany, alone, having to shell out €50 billion a year as a result. As the leading business event for digitization, CEBIT 2018 gives companies, public authorities and small businesses an overview of the latest approaches to safeguarding data and networks.

21 Sep. 2017
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Businesses worldwide are confronted with up to 500,000 new viruses every day. Increasingly popular with cybercriminals is ransomware: These attacks grew by more than 750 percent last year. And the risk for companies of falling victim to cybercrime continues to grow: Just a few months ago, the two ransomware programs WannaCry and Petya demonstrated with terrifying effect just how quickly viruses and worms can proliferate in corporate systems. “Only smart defense mechanisms can help fend off the global onslaught,” says Oliver Frese, the member of Deutsche Messe’s Managing Board responsible for CEBIT. “That is why networked security solutions will be a central focus of CEBIT in June of 2018.”

CEBIT as a lead machine for decision-makers

"As the leading European business festival for innovation and digitization, we want to set new standards in every respect,” adds CeBIT Senior VP Marius Felzmann. “CEBIT 2018 will serve as a prime lead machine for decision-makers in the digitization arena, both today and from here on out.”

The new concept is based on four elements: The d!conomy area exhibits the very latest digitization solutions for businesses and administrations, with an agenda that includes security, process and data management, key infrastructure issues and related devices. d!tec presents promising developments in research and the startup scene, which are breaking down traditional industry structures and allowing new business models to take shape. d!talk is the new conference format for stimulating dialogue on every aspect of digitization of importance to business, politics and society. “Our keynote stage will host visionaries, unconventional thinkers and experts from around the world, to inspire and inform visitors,” says Felzmann of the intent behind the platform. The multicultural d!campus is a brand-new feature of the event where excitement, win-win interaction and unparalleled networking are the name of the game beneath the graceful Expo Canopy.

Giving a boost to security

Cybersecurity is naturally taking front and center stage at CEBIT 2018: “Not only are governments facing huge challenges in implementing convincing security strategies, but in the face of constant threats, companies also need to keep updating and enhancing their defensive measures,” adds Frese. The many patents and innovative engineering achievements in Germany are a powerful draw for cybercriminals from around the world. Germany currently ranks only 24th in the Global Cybersecurity Index of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). Singapore is at the top of the list, followed by the United States and Malaysia. “Estonia, Australia, France, Japan and South Korea are also far ahead of Germany. That should be an incentive for us,” says Frese.

The situation here at home is characterized by great uncertainty, as well as by a distinct lack of pan-industry concepts. 85 percent of Germans want the government to do more about internet security, according to a survey by the independent German institute for internet trust and security DIVSI. As the nation’s cybersecurity authority, the German Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) needs to rise to the occasion. The German government also wants to introduce a voluntary IT seal for consumer products in the coming year. For now, security-related solutions for companies are being left out in the cold – a decision that is hard to comprehend, given that many C-level suites lack the expertise to find a secure path through the digital transformation.

Image losses viewed as a real danger

The EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) being introduced in 2018 adds to the pressure on businesses, creating clear standards for processing of personal data by companies and public administrations. Security experts will discuss their first experiences with the new guidelines at CEBIT. As indicated in a study published in September by security services provider Trend Micro, many companies are not sufficiently prepared for implementation of the GDPR. 67 percent of those surveyed believe that damage to their image is the biggest threat posed by a data leak. Only 41 percent are implementing encryption technologies, and 39 percent have advanced capabilities to identify intruders.

There are major differences between sectors and organizations in this area. Public administrations and energy suppliers, for example, are cautious about introducing new technologies. Often lacking is effective mobile device management for smartphones and notebooks, which could become problematic at the latest with the introduction of mobile eDocuments. Automobile manufacturers are very attentive to screening their suppliers, while banks and insurance firms are particularly strong when it comes to security training for their employees. Three quarters of the manufacturing industry, carmakers and energy suppliers train specialized and management staff for special IT security tasks, so that they can respond faster to attacks targeting state infrastructures (source: Sopra Steria Consulting).

New challenges from the Internet of Things

The urgent need for such measures was demonstrated by the WannaCry cryptoworm, which laid low some 75,000 IT systems in nearly 100 countries. Network providers and hospitals were among those affected. “Targeted cyberattacks on critical infrastructures are an increasing threat to public life,” says Oliver Frese. “At CEBIT, we will show where the main risks lie and how to address them.” Here in Germany, for example, the energy sector is vulnerable: “Grid renovation requires that different energy suppliers from CHP plants to wind turbines connect to the Internet. Smart grids that connect professionally managed industrial facilities with smaller energy producers are not sufficiently secure, and smart homes where apps can control heat or blinds are similarly vulnerable.”

The Internet of Things (IoT) is likely to further heighten security concerns. Integrating multiple devices, controls and sensors into networks requires extensive professionalization of all security strategies. In 2018, 1.3 million networked robotic systems will already be in use in smart factories around the globe. “Managed security service providers who offer cloud-based security solutions are increasingly relying on automated processes,” explains Marius Felzmann. Vulnerability scanners use artificial intelligence to scan constantly for security gaps, and close them before they become an entry point for hackers.

CEBIT offers 360° window on security

“In the past two years, more than half of Germany’s companies suffered attacks in the form of economic espionage, sabotage or data theft. The annual cost of these cyberattacks is €55 billion,” reports CEBIT Chairman Oliver Frese. “That is why every company now needs to give security a key place on their digital agenda – regardless of whether it has three employees or 300,000. Unlike regional events, CEBIT 2018 provides a comprehensive overview of the latest security trends in 10 exhibition halls, keynotes from prestigious security experts and a variety of opportunities for personal discussions throughout the days and into the evenings.”