Skip to content

Combating cyber-attacks with open communication

With more and more municipalities experiencing cyber-attacks, having a better understanding of what the threat is, and where it’s coming from, is essential. Robin McCleave, JLT Canada VP, Risk Manager, discussed the importance of cyber-liability with Municipal World CEO Susan Gardner at the 2018 JLT Canada Public Sector Summit in The Blue Mountains, Ontario.

When it comes to the benefits of open communication between IT departments and risk management, as well as business continuity, McCleave explained she’s been doing a lot of work with municipalities to understand the importance of cyber-liability and business continuity planning.

McCleave explained the cyber products required by municipalities to protect themselves “weren’t’ a big uptake” even just a few years ago. However, with more municipalities experiencing cyber-attacks, the combination of working with IT and business continuity, and augmenting that with today’s cyber products, is “a really great way” for municipalities to transfer their risk.

Municipalities, McCleave said, have very limited budgets and so this process of constant communication is part of a policy to help them when a security breach occurs.

A municipality can have the best systems in the world, but she also explained the people who are hacking in “are so smart, are so creative, and are always looking for a way in.” With the IT staff, if they are able to integrate more into the staff culture, hopefully the outcome will be better, and everyone will understand what the threat is.

McCleave also emphasized that part of the biggest threats – in some ways – are a municipality’s own employees. It’s about training employees to not click that button, no matter how much they may want to hit it. Training for greater awareness of cyber threats is essential, but if IT is better integrated into the conversation with the rest of the staff, if everyone is talking more, then McCleave said everyone is “so much better equipped” to deal when something happens.

Related resource materials: