Covering your cybersecurity blindside

Sports are a big part of my life. I was a member of the Stanford football team and coached my kids’ teams for many years. I think that once you are part of a great athletic team, it is something you take with you. It affects who you are.

At Stanford, I played left tackle. If you’re not a big football person, that means I was charged with protecting the quarterback’s “blind side”—where he was most vulnerable. So you see, on top of being fiercely competitive, protecting is an action that has been ingrained in me.

A few weeks ago, AT&T hosted our 17th Annual Cybersecurity Conference in New York. Especially today, cybersecurity is an immensely critical area of focus for our customers. Attacks are happening more often, and when they happen, they are more impactful than ever before. Frequently, these attacks blindside companies and hit them where it really hurts: their bottom lines and brand reputation. In fact, we have seen a 62% increase in the number of Distributed Denial of Service attacks, or attacks that disrupt company operations, over the past 2 years. This affects companies both big and small. According to the Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC) Global State of Information Security Survey 2015, businesses of all sizes suffered nearly 43 million total security incidents in 2014. That works out to 117,000 incoming attacks daily—an increase of 48% from 2013.

As also noted in the PwC Survey, even though attacks increased, nearly 75% of businesses do not involve their full board of directors in cybersecurity management. Moreover, approximately 51% of organizations say that high-visibility data breaches don’t spur them to re-evaluate their information security.

We advocate that Cybersecurity is now a C-level issue. It is a huge threat to enterprises. Businesses today have changed, and so have the nature of the threats. In the early days, if your computer was hacked, you could install anti-virus software and that was that. This is not the case today. The issues here move well beyond technology. It affects operational issues and business continuity.

In the way that I am protective about my quarterback on the field, I am passionate about protecting our customers from attacks. We want to help companies understand how we can help keep them and their data safe. We have a sophisticated network. We offer a range of services that can help identify known or suspected Internet attacks. We can identify vulnerabilities. In many cases, we can destroy threats before they reach an enterprise.

Spreading awareness and educating people about solutions is important. I’m grateful we were able to do this at our conference in New York. For those of you who were not able to attend, we recently launched a AT&T Cybersecurity Insights report with deep insights about security that can help your company. Staying informed and knowing about the risks is vital to securing your data and your business.

Jon Summers Growth Platforms Senior Vice President AT&T About Jon